You’re never too young to start a business, or at least that’s what our partner program Catapult Greater Pittsburgh thinks—and we couldn’t agree more. With the launch of their Kidpreneurship Training Program earlier this year, Catapult is on a mission to inspire, educate, and promote young people on the benefits of financial sustainability and community empowerment through entrepreneurship.

Catapult Kids is a six-month business incubation program for minority youth ages 12-17. The participants are placed in a supportive cohort learning environment where they gain an understanding of personal SMART goal setting, starting a business, marketing, sales, and retail business operations from entrepreneurial consultant Debra Titus.

Below, hear from one of the young entrepreneurs using Catapult Kids to grow their business and achieve their dreams.

What’s your name, and how old are you?

My name is Ryleigh Mackenzie Tardy, and I’m 13 years old.

What is your business? How did you come up with the idea for it?

I own a school supply business called Kenz N’ Co! My hope is that the positive images and words on the school supplies I create boost self-esteem and encourage our youth to believe in themselves. I hope to fill in the gaps in representation that exist. I want my peers that look like me to see themselves in a positive light every day and know that they are capable of great things.

I want my peers that look like me to see themselves in a positive light every day and know that they are capable of great things.

How did you get involved with Catapult?

My mom shared a Catapult pop-up shop event with me in 2019, and I applied to participate. That was the first time I ever showed my products to the public. From there, our relationship was created.

Ryleigh selling her products at a Gallery on Penn sidewalk sale in East Liberty with TyLynn Gault and other Catapult Kids members.

Why are you motivated to run a business?

I’m motivated because there is a need for positive representation in my community! There are so many negative images out there in the media that show us in a bad light. My business is here to show that we do great things, we are capable of amazing things, and to encourage my peers to follow their dreams.

What are your dreams for the future?

I want to be an archaeologist because I love the outdoors and history. But for my business, I would love to have a Kenz N’ Co stationery store where you can get all of your office needs.

What have you learned through Catapult so far?

I’ve learned about how networking is so important to running a successful business. I’ve also learned about how to interact with strangers and do everything properly.

How can people support your business? 

Follow us at:

Facebook: @kenzncosupplies

Instagram: @KenzN’Co

Or reach out at:

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