At the age of 13, Isa Chapman has a vision to start her own cookie business which could soon become a reality with the help from a Wollongong businesswoman.
Isa was named Wollongong's Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2023 Pitchfest in October for her 'Cosmic Cookies' business pitch.
The Year 7 student from Nowra Christian School began baking allergy-free cookies because she couldn't share her homemade treats with her friends with allergies.
Isa currently sells her cookies through Instagram but hopes to launch a website within the next year.
"My vision is honestly getting more people to buy them and starting up an online website," she said.
Her cookies are made of honey from Nowra's Bee Kind honey, coconut oil and coconut flour.
As part of her Pitchfest win, Isa was granted a year of mentorship with a Wollongong businesswoman.
Her mentor is Monika Armstrong, who has worked in the catering and food business for decades and was previously a TAFE NSW cooking teacher.
"I've done lots of different things. Some things work and some things don't work so it's really having that resilience to keep going," she said.
Ms Armstrong describes herself as a home economist rather than a chef. She has owned her catering business Culinarius for 26 years.
Beyond the cookies, she will provide advice on marketing, packaging, and labelling.
The pair met for the first time on November 8 and are already brainstorming more ideas.
Ms Armstrong has already suggested Isa could use vacuum seal packaging to extend the shelf life of the baked goods.
"These cookies are going really well. We might find that we can do other things in that same sort of line," Ms Armstrong said.
The Zig Zag Hub team hosted the Pitchfest and said they are thrilled to witness the progress in Isa's business as she starts her mentorship with Ms Armstrong.
"We eagerly anticipate Isa's business growth as she works with Monika each month on developing her business idea, Cosmic Cookies," Zig Zag Hub Operations Manager, Sophie Rudd said.
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