Ready for business: Young Entrepreneurs Academy in Dearborn prepares area youth for leadership

A good idea is a good idea, no matter the age of the thinker. This fact is well represented in Dearborn at the Metro Detroit chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!. The national program enrolls middle and high school students in a class that teaches them how to turn their ideas into actual businesses.

Grant Sobczak, a graduate of the 2016 season, is a good example of the type of minds that enroll in the Dearborn program. At just 14 years old, Sobczak had already started his own business, Modern Mind Technology & Companies. The YEA! program helped Sobczak get his business off the ground. He came up with a solid business plan and started an LLC.

"I definitely learned a lot, from financials to human resources to marketing. It takes you to a fully realized company," says Sobczak. "The added benefits is the networking, meeting future partners and customers."

Sobczak is currently working on an online platform for school permission slips, and he says that his only current competitor in the field is a company in Canada. At just 16 years old today, Sobczak is hoping that his first paying school district will pick up his platform for the 2017 and '18 and school year. He estimates that the online permission slip system will save school districts approximately $16,000 per year.

This year, Sobczak was a member of the investor panel, which sees students pitch their products to a table of investors. Sobczak was pitching his own product last year, and being on the panel this year allowed him to see things from the other side of the table.

One of the students doing the pitching was Anthony Vickers, CEO of Rally Bands, a head band logo product for sports teams and other clubs. On May 5, Vickers took his pitch to the national Ninth Annual Saunders Scholars National Conference & Competition in Rochester, New York.

Though he didn't win, Vickers, like Sobczak, has a bright future ahead of him.

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Read more articles by MJ Galbraith.

MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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