Eleven-year-old Kylee Burt wants to become a chef and a baker when she grows up.
“I just like baking,” Burt said. “I want to try making different stuff and new stuff.”
Burt, a 6th-grader at Fort Riley Middle School, started Kylee’s Konfectionery last January because she wanted to make sweet treats to share with others. Burt’s mother, Jakara Scott, said Kylee came to her and her husband last year with her small business proposal.
“Being able to see one of my children live out their dreams (is amazing),” Scott said. “We want to do our best to help our kids in supporting their goals.”
Burt recently earned recognition for realizing her dream.
She and 11-year-old Tremaine Glasper of Manhattan received Youth Achievement awards from the Black Entrepreneurs of the Flint Hills, during the group’s inaugural Circle of Community Black Business Gala and Awards Ceremony Feb. 25.
“I would definitely say it was surreal,” Scott said. “It’s really rewarding just to see your child get an award for her hard work.”
Glasper, a 5th-grader at Northview Elementary in Manhattan, owns and operates Tre’s Squeeze, with his fresh-squeezed lemonade being sold in Hy-Vee stores locally as well as online. Burt is the youngest member of the Black Entrepreneurs of the Flint Hills.
The inaugural gala and awards ceremony was held at the Midwest Dream Car Collection in Manhattan. Multiple local sponsors raised $12,000 to benefit eight Manhattan-area Black-owned businesses, including Smokin H’s Meats, Zydeco Meadery, Winks by Thanie, and J’s Makeup Artistry.
Clay Taylor of American Family Insurance of Manhattan also received the Lifetime Achievement and Longevity award, for operating his insurance business in the Flint Hills for more than 30 years.
“The gala was fun,” Burt said. “It was my first time being at an event like that, so I got to try new things. And I got to dress up.”
Burt and her family have lived on base at Fort Riley for two and a half years. Scott is a veteran, and her husband is actively serving in the U.S. Army.
She manages her daughter’s social media accounts while Burt is at school during the day.
“We try to do vendor events where people can meet face-to-face with her,” Scott said. “We’re both still learning this together, and we’ve come across some great mentors in the process. They’ve been a huge help in helping us get this thing going the right way.”
Two of those mentors include Crystal Davis of CJD Consulting Solutions in Junction City and Cassandra Edwards of 2 Peaches soul food restaurant in Junction City. Scott said the gala was important so Burt could see the successes of other Black entrepreneurs in the region.
“A lot of people met her for the first time that night,” Scott said, “and that also helped to show her that it’s something she can absolutely do at her young age. A lot of people told her to not stop, this is only a stepping stone, she can only go up from here. It showed her that there are many others who look like her that can achieve their goals through entrepreneurship.”
Burt said her favorite thing to bake for her business is chocolate-covered strawberries and pretzels — but if she’s baking for herself, she loves brownies. She has a handful of repeat customers right now, and most of her sales come from Facebook, text messages and email orders.
People can either pick up their sweets from Burt and Scott, or the mother-daughter duo will deliver to Flint Hills-area customers. Scott said, when she and her family first moved to Fort Riley, she didn’t expect to see very many African American people in the area.
“It’s kind of funny,” Scott said. “Before we got here, I was not completely looking forward to it. But I think, as time went on and we met more people, we realized that there is a sense of community here, especially among entrepreneurs.”
Burt said she met a lot of people at the gala who reinforced that sense of community.
“There was a lot of different people that I didn’t know that have businesses,” Burt said. “They were encouraging me to keep going, don’t give up.”
Burt’s next venture? “I want to get started on cakes and stuff,” she said. “I want to learn all of that this year, to expand my business.”
For more information or to place an order, visit “Kylee’s Konfectionery” on Facebook.