Teen entrepreneur program comes to Detroit for first time

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A group of 40 high school students from 11 Detroit high schools will take part in an innovative entrepreneurship program that's being held in the city for the first time. The Teen Entrepreneur Summer Academy (TESA) will take place from August 1-5 at Grand Valley's Detroit Center, 163 Madison Street in downtown Detroit.

Area business leaders will serve as coaches, mentors and judges throughout the program, including Mary Kramer, vice president and publisher of Crain's Detroit Business and vice chair of Grand Valley's Board of Trustees; and Bill Luse, president of 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit.

Held in Grand Rapids for the past 10 years, TESA is expanding to Detroit, where 37 of the 40 students participating are from Detroit-area Grand Valley-authorized charter schools. The academy will give students a week-long look into the world of entrepreneurship and how to create a start-up company. 

The academy features team-building activities, hands-on research, field trips, networking with area entrepreneurs and interactive lectures. Students at the academy will learn strategies for launching a new business including idea generation, problem-solving, marketing, management, financial strategies and more.

Students at the academy will also compete in a pitch contest where students will showcase their entrepreneurial talents for a chance to win part of $5,000 in prize money. Students will focus their pitches on issues involving poverty and lack of access to health care. The final pitch competition will take place on August 5 from 3-5 p.m.

Other judges include: 

-- Michael L. Dixon, director of Human Resources, Beaumont Hospital

-- Jeanette Boles, tax senior in Ernst and Young’s National Property Tax Practice

-- Aaron B Lewis, associate broker at Keller Williams, The Perna Team

-- Andrea L. Wallace, strategist, data analytics and business intelligence at DTE Energy

-- Timothy Wood, associate vice president for GVSU Charter Schools

The academy is a program offered by the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Grand Valley's Seidman College of Business. The program is being offered in Detroit in collaboration with, and sponsored by, the Grand Valley Charter Schools Office. Other details and the full list of sponsors is available here: http://www.gvsu.edu/cei/tesa-detroit-183.htm

For more information, contact the Grand Valley Charter Schools Office at (616) 331-2240.