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Around the time he was 9 years old, Jack McKenna decided he needed a backup plan. He wanted to play for the NBA — but how? The unusually mature tween realized, even then, that pro ball is something of a long shot.
So, he asked his mom for some advice. She said to do what he loves. Soon thereafter, Jack's Rockin' Toffee was launched.
This kid entrepreneur didn't land on this business of small-batch, crafted toffee because of a sweet tooth. Rather, he wanted to create something his younger brother Collin—who has a severely limited diet—could also enjoy. Collin suffers from Williams syndrome and feels better if he avoids foods with preservatives, additives and artificial colors, Brittany Woolsey reported in the Daily Pilot. Lots of people are trying to avoid unnatural ingredients (and gluten, which the toffee also does not contain), so the Rockin' Toffee market, McKenna knows, has wide appeal.
McKenna, now 14, started developing his toffee and business five years ago. He watched YouTube videos on how to make toffee, tweaked and perfected the product, and figured out how to scale up.
His idea hit big time this summer, when he won CW network's business competition show "Hatched," which aired Saturday.
With investor money, he plans to further expand not only where Jack's Rockin' Toffee is sold but also product line. He wants to develop popcorn and coffee around the toffee idea, too.
His business, even without the investors, earned enough for him to hire out toffee makers so he can focus on school. Perhaps he's on his way to join these wildly successful kid business moguls, but with a decidedly philanthropical edge. What makes him want to succeed and grow: since the beginning he pledged 10 percent of profits to go toward Williams syndrome research. Already, he's sent $4,000 their way.