YEA awards grant to Proctor High School Student

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UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR-TV)– A Proctor High School student is on her way to having her product being sold here locally. 10th grader Ahjanae Cisson-Powell is a young entrepreneur looking to expand her business all thanks to the Y.E.A. Program – Young Entrepreneur Academy.

“That’s what we do for this year. We make our business plan. We promote our product. We graduate. After that we go partially on our own and start trying to build business up.” – Ahjanae Cisson-Powell

Cisson-Powell is the creator of ‘Girl and Cat’. Hand-made cat treats from her kitchen.

“The first couple of weeks it was just like heavy research on what cats can eat, what they can’t eat. What they can eat under certain circumstances so that’s how it really started. It was about a month of research.” – Ahjanae Cisson-Powell

To start off, she says she kept the products simple.

“Meat they can eat. Like if it’s cooked. Like vegetables. Cats have vegetables but because they’re carnivores they don’t need a lot of it. But then again these are treats as well.” – Ahjanae Cisson-Powell

When it came to getting the perfect recipe, Ahjanae tells me it was trial and error.

“More water or less water. More wheat and stuff like that.” – Ahjanae Cisson-Powell

When she finally got the perfect recipe, she fed the treats to her two cats, Lowkee and EeeVee.

“One of our cats, he eats everything, so it was no problem getting him to eat it. The other one, he tends to like store bought brands because you know, he’s fancy. After a while, he started eating it too.” – Ahjanae Cisson-Powell

She sent her treats to family and friends who own cats.

“We got a lot of positive reviews so when we send it out for testing, we can start doing bigger samples and hopefully get sales started up.”

Ahjanae would like to see her product at local farmers markets to start off.

“As we build up, I feel like if we get a lot of food reviews from farmers markets, then we can open up opportunities to get into local stores.” – Ahjanae Cisson-Powell

Ahjanae shared her business plan at Mohawk Valley Community College’s ‘thINCubator’. It’s the Mohawk Valley’s Hub for entrepreneurship. They provide new and existing entrepreneurs with guidance and programs to help their ideas into businesses; she was awarded $300.00.

“The money we won from the investor panel; we’re going to use to send out the treats for testing. Testing gives us our need and nutrition label and deems the treats safe for cats.” – Ahjanae Cisson-Powell

Ahjanae is excited for the future and is appreciative for the Y.E.A Program for giving her the platform to help her business.

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