$10K Grant Helps Student CEO Expand Business

HERMITAGE, Pa. — A $10,000 Paypal Empowerment Grant will allow a youth entrepreneur to introduce a new product from her company.

Funds will go toward the launch of new flavors for Niu, a low-sugar tropical juice drink produced by Talls Inc. Cynthia Torrence, a junior at Hickory High School here, said the company looks to introduce Berry Blast and Orange Eden in addition to its Tropical FlaMingo flavor, according to a company release. She expects Berry Blast to be ready by fall.

“We’re also going to use some of the funds to continue on with our plan to launch some of our promotional merchandise and apparel,” Torrence said.

Grant monies will also cover bills and other financial obligations accrued during the pandemic, according to the release.

The grant is a joint program between Paypal and the Washington D.C.-based Association for Enterprise Opportunity. It was created in response to the coronavirus pandemic and “civil unrest that is disproportionately affecting the Black community,” according to a statement from the organization.

Niu is one of 1,000 Black-owned businesses to receive the $10,000 grant.

“Our goal was to provide direct support to Black business owners to cover expenses related to stabilizing and/or reopening their businesses,” the organization stated. “We are hopeful that these funds can help you sustain your business during these unprecedented times.”

Niu is one of three divisions of the family-run Talls Inc. Torrence officially launched the drink in June 2019, one month after bottling it for the first time at MetaBrand in New Jersey.

“Niu is Hawaiian for coconut and its tropical blend was created just for your taste buds,” Torrence said. “Niu juice is great for kids whose parents want to find a healthy and tasty alternative for their regular sugary sodas and juices used in lunches. It also provides an option for vegan families/groups all the way to adults who are interested in dieting or just want to take a sugar cut in their everyday meals.”

“Cynthia is a dynamic young woman with a bright future, and this is yet another successful accomplishment and building block in her life,” added Gary Gulla, assistant city manager of Hermitage. “I’m fortunate to have had an opportunity to work with her and to develop a friendship with her and her family.”

Pictured: Cynthia Torrence, CEO of Niu by Talls Inc.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.