"She still plays sports, still has friends, and still goes to the mall. She is a normal kid, who happens to own a business," said her mom Monica Padden.
About three years ago, when she was only 10, Lyla was inspired to start her own business after visit to Young AmeriTowne
, a hands-on experience in free enterprise for elementary students. With a little prompting from her fifth-grade teacher and some help from crowd-source investors at FirstFunder.com, she was able to bring her cupcakes to the public.
Lyla’s vision, hard work and delectable baking have grown the business and won her the 2012 Colorado Young Entrepreneurs Award (from the Young Americans Center for Financial Education), the 2012 Rockies Venture Club Colorado Capital Conference Youth Entrepreneurship Award and the 2012 Million Dollar Butterflies Top Entrepreneur Award.
Recently, Lyla and her business got the attention of NBC’s Today Show. She was one of only four kids to win the show’s “Today's Future Stars of Tomorrow” contest and will appear live on the Today Show on Friday morning, March 15.
Lyla and her mom are being flown to New York, provided with accommodations in a nice hotel and will be picked by a limo for an appearance on the Today Show with Al Roker. A young singer, an artist and a fashion designer will also be on the show.
“I’m super excited,” Lyla said.
She’s shared the news with her friends at Rocky Heights too.
“They’re proud of me and shocked,” Lyla said.
She says she can’t wait to bring her cupcakes to the Big Apple and introduce them to the world.
“It was always my dream to make cupcakes for other people,” Lyla said. “I felt like Willie Wonka because he wanted to share his chocolates with everyone and I want to share my cupcakes with everyone.”
She knows the national exposure could mean having orders from across the country.
“I’m trying to figure out how to ship the cupcakes so when they’re received they still look good,” Lyla said.
Her goal is to eventually bring her cupcakes to a commercial kitchen so she can expand production and to have her own cupcake store.
“It’s still really fun and I definitely picture myself doing this after I’m done with school to continue my dream,” she said.
She is not stopping there, however. Lyla plans to go to Princeton when she graduates from high school, and is already cooking up another business opportunity.
“She’s also already got another idea going for her next business. She’s definitely an entrepreneur at heart,” Monica Padden said. “It’s been amazing to watch her grow. She started this when she was 10. Now she is 13 and to see how this has progressed... both my husband and I, we couldn’t be prouder. We say it’s the frosting on the cake.”
The family says it is a little too early to discuss the new business, but will disclose that it has something to do with shoes.