By Claudia Rupcich
Lynchburg, VA – The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, in Lynchburg is already in its second month, and students are well on their way to creating their own businesses.
One 8th grader in the program has decided to turn her passion for baking into a business plan.
Lauryn Foster is only 13 years old, but she bakes as if she’s been doing it for a lot longer.
“I’m going to fill this with cream cheese icing,” she demonstrated as she filled her red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing.
Right now she bakes from her home, but one day she hopes to have her own cupcake store. She wants her customers to be able to pick their own toppings.
“They would walk in and chose tiles with the name of everything they wanted on it, and they would bring it to the front and the person at the front would make the cupcake right in front of them,” she said.
She’s on the right track thanks to YEA! The program helps students come up with an idea and actually start a business.
Some of the other current business models include things like selling gridded golf mats, custom made skateboards and homemade braceletes.
“What the kids are learning is just because you have a dream or business idea…will it make money? Can I produce a product in this market? Will people buy it,” said Christine Kennedy, the executive vice president of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber, which runs YEA!
So far, those things seem to line up for Lauryn and her cupcake business. She makes all kinds including red velvet, pumpkin and death by chocolate.
“Every time that she brings some, I want them. I got some to go right now,” said Tony Camm laughing. Camm is a program instructor and an entrepreneur himself.
“Her cupcakes are phenomenal. I don’t know if she has some secret ingredients involved, but it’s definitely not a box cupcake mix,” said Anthony Andrews, YEA! program manager.
As a matter of fact, she does.
“Well, I can’t tell you what’s in it, but I add it to it because it makes everything more moist,” said Lauryn.
She says her mom came up with the this special ingredient, and they started using it in all the pancakes.
“You can have all the best marketing in the world, but the product’s gotta be really really good and unique, and I think she has that,” said Camm.
Lauryn already came up with a name for her business: “Have Your Cake And Eat It Too.” She’s taking orders, so if you’re interested, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 540-425-2424.