YEA! to first class of graduating entrepreneurs

Graduating students from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, had their first graduation ceremony at Wayne State University on May 12.

YEA! is a nationwide program that offers yearlong classes that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. Students learn how to develop business ideas, write business plans and conduct market research in these classes.

The WSU/Detroit YEA! Program focuses exclusively on preparing female entrepreneurs. The driving force in establishing the program was the foundation of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Greater Detroit Chapter (NAWBO/EXCEL) in partnership with Wayne State’s Mike Ilitch School of Business.

According to YEA! organizer Mashell Carissimi, 12 students successfully completed the program in its inaugural year, with 10 present at the graduation ceremony.

Graduation speakers included Tisha Hammond, a motivational speaker at Ascent Small Business Promotion, LLC; Nya Todd, a sophomore at Harrison High School and 2016 YEA! graduate who owns Get Paid 4 Grades, LLC, a business that rewards high school students for academic performances; and Talia Foster, owner of Lavish Parties and Prints by Talia and parent of Ariana Foster, a 2016 YEA! graduate.

Pictures from the ceremony can be found below:

2016 YEA! Commencement Ceremony

YEA! is currently in the process of recruiting for the 2016-2017 school year. Classes start in October. For additional information or to request an application, please contact Gia Todd at

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