UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

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Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
March 02, 2017

High School Sports and Portion Size Leads to Tasty Business Plan

Entrepreneur Yashica McKinney of East St. Louis Desserts Out the Jar

Yashica McKinney of East St. Louis, has always enjoyed cooking family meals. When she spontaneously whipped up a batch of banana pudding and caramel cake, the family instantly spread the word to friends and neighbors. Nothing more was thought about the desserts until her son wanted to play sports in high school, but needed additional income to pay for activities. Yashica’s sister suggested selling her desserts but didn’t seriously consider it until several jobs interviews failed. She reached another turning point when a friend requested a dessert sample. “I never again wanted to turn someone away because of portion size,” recalls Yashica. That day, she bought small canning jars, cooked until 2 a.m., and by 6 a.m. December 9, 2014, shared the images on Facebook. They were a big hit and she was invited to Fox News December 22 to introduce her desserts.

Soon her small apartment and refrigerator were overstuffed with jars and ingredients. When St. Louis City Hall contracted with her to provide desserts for an event, they asked if she had a business license. “Up until then it was only a hobby. With their help, I completed the registration process and Desserts Out The Jar was born.”

The second obstacle was finding commercial kitchen space. With help from Ferguson 1000, Square One Entrepreneurial Program, Slate Employment Agency, and East St. Louis Initiative, things fell into place and she moved her dessert operation to St. Louis Venture Works February 2016.

Like many entrepreneurs, Yashica feared the unknown, the risks and the ‘what-ifs’, but she enjoys the journey and is in no rush to see it end. “It’s exhausting work and failure doesn’t mean quit. It means you regroup and take a new road to reach your destination.” Part of her journey includes expanding to include cupcakes and sugar-free options.

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Post provided by Kris Edens, a copywriting and blogging resource for small business. She resides in Festus, Missouri and enjoys networking, writing and the entrepreneurial community.

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