We help people turn their business ideas into reality by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and support network in Detroit. To date, we have graduated over 1800 aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs from our classes, many of whom have gone on to start successful businesses in the city. In addition to classes, we offer networking events, mentorship, connections to resources and a nurturing community that allows ideas to develop and flourish over time. With a little support, a lot of hard work, and a friendly nudge, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. Do you have an idea? Want to be your own boss? Dream of starting a business? Join us and get Building!


Build was started in January 2012 as a program of D:hive, a welcome center and resource hub located downtown. The classes, called Build Basics, are based on national standards for entrepreneurship education. The first class in Detroit was offered in the spring of 2012 and since then demand has grown tremendously. Classes are now offered every season and have expanded beyond the core curriculum to include Build Impact, Co.Starters, and Digital Marketing, with classes offered throughout the City of Detroit, Metro Detroit, and beyond.


We empower people to launch ideas and grow businesses by providing access to education, resources, and a supportive engaged community.


Detroit will be the global leader in equitable and inclusive entrepreneurship

Our Team
April Jones Boyle - Former Founder and Executive Director

April was a founding team member of D:hive, where she was Director of Small Business Initiatives and helped launch the Build program. She is also the co-creator of a number of small-scale ventures including the award-winning family Hootenanny kids concert series and CD, the critically acclaimed Indonesian pop-up restaurant Komodo Kitchen and the all mom rock band The Mydols- featured on the Cable television series Gene Simmons Family Jewels. She sits on the board of Kiva Detroit and the advisory board for Ponyride. She is also co-owner and investor in Gold Cash Gold, building and restaurant, in Corktown. April is married to Model D Co-founder Brian Boyle and is the mother of three amazing boys – Carter, Gram Henry and Rowen.

Yolanda Curry - Director of Education

Yolanda is passionate about helping entrepreneurs to think strategically in their business planning, as well as exposing youth to business ownership. She is leveraging 13+ years of entrepreneurship and small business education at Build Institute. She is also a proud Build grad and owner of The D. The Jewelry, which is featured at local boutiques such as The Peacock Room and City Bird. Yolanda has facilitated Build Facilitator Training as well as Build business planning courses. She earned dual degrees in Industrial and Jewelry Design at the University of Michigan in 2001, and for many years, taught youth art classes at non-profit organizations and metro Detroit schools.. She also sits on the University Liggett School Alumni Board of Governors, as well as former board member at the James and Grace Lee Boggs School. Yolanda loves travelling, biking, gardening, and reading with her two very energetic children.

Jordan Yagiela - Manager of Community Workspace

Jordan Yagiela has been spearheading philanthropic endeavors in the city of Detroit since she was 18.  She believes in the powerful role that small business has in sustainably revitalizing neighborhoods.  She believes building real relationships is the key to success to ensure that all residents are a part of redevelopment.  Jordan is a proud graduate of Michigan State University.  Post graduation, she worked as the Director of Development for PEAC (Programs to Educate All Cyclists) and as a Coordinator of Signature Events with the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Leadership Detroit program.  Jordan is the Executive Director of NW Goldberg Cares, a nonprofit aiming to improve upon the lives of residents of Detroit’s NW Goldberg Neighborhood through business, community, and family.  She can often be found growing internationally famous zucchinis  or attempting to find the best waffle cone in Southeast Michigan.

Ernestine Lyons, Build Cities Manager

Ernestine Lyons has a Master’s degree in Political Science and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Wayne State University. Ernestine has lived and studied all over the world examining sustainability, analyzing emerging markets and developing economies. During her career as a civil servant, she focused on creating systems to strengthen small business development and encouraging inclusivity and opportunity with municipal governments. Ernestine is a Build Graduate and founder of Linglobal. Linglobal’s mission is to create global citizens by encouraging international travel, learning foreign languages. She also coordinates the Harper Woods Soup. Lyons is excited to lend her experience in entrepreneurship and economic development to the mission to take the successful Build Institute formula of cultivating innovators nationally and internationally.

Scott Stewart, Development Director

Scott Stewart is passionate and committed to ensuring that all individuals have access to opportunities, particularly by advancing equitable solutions and fighting to eliminate systemic barriers to social issues. To act on his passion, he focuses his efforts on working across sectors to address issues through public-private partnerships and collaboration, especially with creating strategies for nonprofits to grow effectively. Scott has over seven years of dedicated experience working with nonprofits and social issues focused on health and wellness, education, LGBTQ+ rights, sexual violence, etc., including his current role as the Chairperson on the Board of Directors of Wayne County SAFE, a board member of Break Away, and the founder of Pontiac SOUP. Scott has his Master of Public Administration from Wayne State University and his Bachelor’s of Applied Arts in Integrative Public Relations from Central Michigan University.

Evan Adams - Manager of Capital Programs

Evan earned a degree in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy at James Madison College at Michigan State in 2014, during which time he developed a passion for economic policy and development. Having graduated his Public Policy Masters program and joined the Build team, both in 2019, Evan has dedicated both his academic and professional lives to economic development. Between finishing his undergraduate and graduate careers, Evan developed experience in both political and social advocacy while interning, and later volunteering, with Equality Michigan. His research as a graduate student was oriented around systemic economic inequality, capital accessibility, and improving the financials of low and moderate income communities, an three-fold agenda he’s continued to address in his role as Capital Programs Manager at Build Institute.

Our Impact
+ aspiring entrepreneurs graduated from BUILD
BUILD grads represent + zipcodes across metro Detroit
% of BUILD participants are people of color
% of BUILD students are female
Our Partners

Downtown Detroit Partnership


Detroit Development Fund

Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

Fifth Third Bank


Hatch Detroit

Invest Detroit

MSU Product Center

Opportunity Detroit



Rock Ventures


Wayne State Law Clinic

WEDGE Marketing

& countless other community professionals.