YEA! Young Entrepreneurs Academy

An innovative program with a track record of success nationwide, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy - better known as YEA! - offers groundbreaking year-long classes that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. The YEA! program takes place at Wayne State University's Mike Ilitch School of Business.

The WSU/Detroit program is unique to YEA! programs across the country in that it focuses exclusively on preparing female entrepreneurs. The driving force in establishing this site was the foundation of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Greater Detroit Chapter (NAWBO/EXCEL).

Student criteria

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is for students in grades 6-12 who have demonstrated creativity, innovative ideas, academic effort, determination, enthusiasm, the ability to communicate, and a commitment to their communities and families. Students who apply to YEA! should be responsible individuals who pursue goals with tenacity. Prior experience in business is not required.


The YEA! program begins in October and ends in May. Classes are held at Wayne State and are tentatively scheduled for Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m., with the exception of school breaks and holiday recess.

Tuition and scholarships

Tuition is $395 and includes access to a network of local leaders and business professionals, built-in investment opportunities, field trips, events, books and supplies, and the chance to compete for college funding. YEA! scholarships are available and will be awarded on the basis of need and merit. A $50 discount is available to children of Wayne State University personnel.  

Learn more

For more information on the YEA! program, including sponsorship and partner information, please contact Carol Kirkland at 248-640-1343 or