Local Enterprise Office Laois has confirmed that Kelly Ging from Kelly Lou Cakes in Portlaoise has clinched a place in the national final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition in Dublin this March.
The 27 year-old is competing in the Best Established Business category and is one of three young entrepreneurs who will represent Laois, Kildare, Offaly and Westmeath on March 5th. The local entrepreneur now has the opportunity, along with 23 other national finalists, to become Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur and share in a €100,000 winners’ investment fund.
The three category winners who will go forward to the National Final were selected at the IBYE Regional Final at the Heritage Hotel in Portlaoise today (February 1st). The two other national finalists who were selected by the judging panel are: James Sherlock, Smart Business Analytics from Westmeath in the Best Start-up category and Jenny Reynolds, Topper Technologies from Kildare in the Best Business Idea category.
Evelyn Reddin, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Laois, congratulated the local entrepreneur, saying: “Our search to find and support Ireland’s best young entrepreneurs, which started last September, has turned up some incredible business talent. Our local entrepreneurs are the business leaders of the future and the entrants in the competition have all shown innovation and drive. After a very successful bootcamp, County Final and now Regional Final, the county will be proudly represented in the ultimate stage of the competition – the IBYE National Final in March.”
Judging takes place in early March and each finalist will have the opportunity to pitch their business plan to the judging panel. They will be assessed on criteria such as the level of innovation in their business, the potential for future job creation and their leadership skills.
The Laois finalist, Kelly Ging set up Kelly Lou Cakes in June 2012. What started as a tiny café in the corner of her parents hardware store has grown in to a large café, tea rooms, mobile catering unit and commercial bakery. The artisan bakery and café in Portlaoise specializes in bespoke celebration cakes, wedding cakes, cupcakes and other bakes. Kelly has built up a large social media presence and a monthly baking slot on TV3’s IrelandAM.
Aimed at 18 to 35-year-olds, the IBYE initiative is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) nationwide, and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. The investment awards will be used by the young entrepreneurs to help fund business start-ups, create new jobs locally and help develop new products for international markets.
Competition details and results are available from www.ibye.ie and information around the supports available to young entrepreneurs through the Local Enterprise Offices is available from www.localenterprise.ie