Teen Ayla Hutchinson Impresses at US State Fair
Ayla Hutchinson, 16, may be the youngest and farthest-travelling entrepreneur to showcase at the Minnesota State Fair this year. Hutchinson, who is from Taranaki, conceived of a safer approach to splitting kindling in 2012 after she saw her mother, Claire, slice her finger with a hatchet.
Ayla’s father, Vaughn, an engineer, who admits that he never would have thought of what has become the “Kindling Cracker,” built a prototype in his workshop.
Ayla’s idea, originally invented for a school science fair, ended up winning innovation awards in New Zealand. It grew into a Hutchinson family-owned business, which has granted US distribution rights to Burnsville-based Northern Tool & Equipment.
Ayla also is something of a teen-entrepreneur idol in her country. She has spoken to thousands of schoolchildren about academics and imagination. And she delighted a steady stream of visitors with her expert demonstration and easy way at the fair.
“It’s pretty cool,” she said of her notoriety. “I just go along with it.”
Original article by Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune, September 5, 2015.
Photo by Neal St. Anthony.