Boyne City’s Alison Burnell succeeding with entrepreneurship program

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For one university student, the Boyne community and help from the Young Entrepreneurs Across America program have made all the difference.

Alison Burnell, a 2014 Boyne City High School graduate, is a senior studying art and design at the University of Michigan.


“If I had not had an excellent education from Boyne City and outstanding support from so many friends and family in the area, I would have missed countless learning experiences here in Ann Arbor,” Burnell said. “The education system provided countless opportunities for me to explore my interests and take on leadership roles within the extracurricular programs offered there, and the variety of activities I participated in allowed me to grow as an individual.”

She added, “I also actively learned time management and networking skills, as well as how to set goals and follow through to meet them.”

Burnell said she began her college career without clear direction.

“After taking a year of almost entirely fine arts classes, I realized design was a separate entity within the school and started focusing my studies toward digital and print graphic design,” she said. “I’ve since realized the power and applicability of design in business and have decided to direct my knowledge and hard skills toward branding and identity development.”

Burnell will graduate in April.

As a participant of the entrepreneurship program, Burnell will be managing a branch of Student Painters in Washtenaw County during the upcoming summer.

“I began my internship with Young Entrepreneurs this past December and will be an active Branch Manager until the middle of August this year,” she said. “All of the information I need to succeed is provided by the Student Painters, but the premise of the program is learning by doing. I have developed territory maps and will be marketing the business on a variety of platforms.”

She added, “In the near future, I will be conducting interviews and hiring a team of students, cold-calling, visiting homeowners and completing estimates on their property, closing sales, and finally, prepping and painting homes.”

Burnell said interning as a Young Entrepreneur is providing her experience as an active business owner, employer, mentor, and mentee as she navigates the processes of entrepreneurship so she will be ready to open her own business.

“When I graduate, I will be working as a designer in marketing and advertising,” Burnell said. “My ultimate goal is to personally own and operate a design firm, so this internship is the perfect opportunity to run a business with guidance from mentors who have run successful businesses in the past before I establish my own company.”

“Additionally, the money I earn will help me to pay off my student loans and relocate to Denver in the fall,” she said. “Entrepreneurship is an integral aspect of all workforces—someone has to own and operate the companies providing the products and services we use everyday, and YEAA is actively guiding students earning degrees across the board.”

Burnell added, “If you are interested in business and motivated to learn from hands-on experience, you have a place in this program, regardless of the kind of work you want to do.”