News Releases

Comerica Bank and Young Entrepreneurz Solutions Present YES Business Plan Challenge to Area Students
Eighty Michigan students from Young Kings & Queens, Inc. will take part in the business plan competition

DETROIT, JUNE 10, 2021 – Comerica Bank has partnered with Young Entrepreneurz Solutions (YES) to present the YES Business Plan Challenge to Young Kings & Queens, Inc., in Kalamazoo. The free entrepreneurship program, taking place June 21 through 25, will teach students grades sixth through 12 how to build a business plan and turn it into an award-winning business model. Approximately 80 Michigan students will take part in this year’s event.

During the five-day program, students will compete in the YES Business Plan Challenge for awards and prizes. The winning team will receive a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands to compete in YES National Business Plan Challenge. 

“It’s crucial to support students and help them reach their potential so they become tomorrow’s business owners and leaders,” said Mike Demartelaere, Comerica Bank Outstate Michigan External Affairs Manager. “We are honored to have the opportunity to support Young Kings and Queens, a vital youth empowerment outreach, by offering the YES Business Plan Challenge. Young Entrepreneurz is proven to positively impact and educate students and young professionals in our community. Our partnership spans across all of our markets as we continue to dedicate resources assisting area students grow as entrepreneurs. We look forward to helping Young Kings and Queens and seeing what their outstanding young students’ business plan.”

In 2020, Comerica Bank donated $100,000 to YES for youth entrepreneurship programs in Comerica’s five-state footprint. Comerica will add an "Ask A Banker" session to the partnership year.

In addition to the donation, Comerica bankers will participate in the program by teaching important skills on business planning to students and take part in judging the competition portion of the event. 

“The Comerica Bank relationship has been a major win for Young Entrepreneurz Solutions,” said YES Founder Ernest Ruffin, Jr. “It’s allowed us to reach and teach many more youth in the footprint they provide banking services like the 80 young people from the Young Kings and Queens Program in Kalamazoo. Our goal is to help them understand how entrepreneurship and business can change their lives.”

YES Business Plan Challenge students are taught how to work in teams, take their ideas for new businesses and create business plans. The students then compete for cash and prizes, over 1800 students have participated in the YES business plan challenge since 2014. YES also provides culinary, barista and carpentry skills training in its extended programs. YES has assisted several young people start or grow businesses. 

“We are excited to participate in this event and to bring it to our community,” said Takisha Johnson, Young Kings and Queens, Inc., founder and executive director.

About Comerica Bank
Comerica Bank, a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated, has served Michigan longer than any other bank with a continuous presence dating back 170 years to its Detroit founding in 1849. It is the largest bank employer in metro Detroit and has more than 4,700 employees (FTE) statewide. With one of the largest banking center networks in Michigan, Comerica nurtures lifelong relationships with unwavering integrity and financial prudence. Comerica positively impacts the lives of Michigan residents by helping customers be successful, providing financial support that assists hundreds of charitable organizations, and actively participating in Detroit’s downtown revitalization. Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA) is a financial services company strategically aligned by three business segments: The Commercial Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Follow on Facebook:, Twitter: @ComericaBank and Instagram: @comerica_bank. 

About Young Entrepreneurz Solutions
Young Entrepreneurz Solutions has been teaching youth in 13 urban and low- and moderate (LMI) communities including the US Virgin Islands entrepreneurship and economic development since 2014. Founded by Rutgers University award winning adjunct professor and veteran entrepreneur Ernest Ruffin, Jr, YES's mission is to teach youth grades 6-12 and young men and women in urban areas nationwide and the Virgin Islands business and economic development. To follow Facebook, Twitter: @YEOStudents and Instagram: yngentrepreneurz.

About Young Kings and Queen, Inc.
Young Kings and Queens, Inc., strives to provide youth with a wide range of experiences that expand their view of the world and a strong support system filled with positive individuals who believe in them and the future of our community. Based in Kalamazoo, Mich., Young Kings and Queens provides summer and after school sessions that empower youth, participates in events that expose the youth to new cultural experiences and create broader understanding and promotes positive behavior, educational development and community involvement. For more information, visit or follow on Facebook: @YKQInc.

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