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Nearly a year has passed since Young Americans Center for Financial Education celebrated the top youth-owned businesses in Colorado at the 2019 Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars. Since that time, these remarkable young business owners have accomplished quite a lot!
As the Center prepares for the 2020 award ceremony, which is being held virtually this year, we checked in with each of our three YouthBiz Stars to learn how winning last year transformed their businesses for the better. We’re bringing you these stories in a three-part “Where are they now?” blog series.
Ryder Matz, the 11-year-old owner of Ryder’s Riches LLC, started out the year strong. He worked with his mentor Leroy Williams, Founder and CEO of CyberTeKIQ, to create a business plan. He acquired a new gumball machine, effectively doubling his Travelling Gumball Machines that spend time visiting shops and restaurants in the Lafayette, Louisville, and Boulder area. The Town of Superior recognized Ryder’s business accomplishments, and he appeared on 9News’ Colorado & Company and in an article in Superior Living Magazine.
Then COVID-19 hit. Ryder had to bring all of his gumball machines back home, putting his business on hold.
Surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly for anyone that knows Ryder, this setback only helped his entrepreneurial spirit to flourish. “I think the biggest take-aways for me this past year is to be adaptable,” said Ryder in a recent interview. “I realize that being adaptable is needed to be successful.” While he awaits the time when return gumball machines can return to the community, Ryder is focused on research and business development. He is thinking about his product inventory by, for example, adding sugar free gumballs or toys that have a longer shelf life. Ryder is also saving money for future opportunities in hopes of operating his own vending machines.
The lessons learned here are powerful, and mentor Leroy Williams couldn’t be more impressed. “It was incredible to have the opportunity to meet and listen and learn and be a part of someone’s life in a positive way,” notes Williams, reflecting on his past year with Ryder. “Kids like him are the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, and scientists that will solve today’s big problems.”