Kelly Ging from Kelly Lou Cakes has won the Best Established Business at the regional section of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) this afternoon in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel.
She will be the first Laois person to represent the county at national finals which takes place in March. The IBYE is a competition for business people under the age of 35 and has a total prize fund of €2m. Kelly has already scooped €15,000 for winning her category in Laois.
A past student of Scoil Chriost Ri in Portlaoise and Ratheniska NS Kelly set up her business as a small coffee shop in her family’s hardware store after graduating from Retail Management in DIT in 2011.
She now runs one of the top wedding cake businesses in Ireland and has a massive following on social media. She employs five people in her coffee shop and bakery in Kealew Business Park and is a regular contributor to TV3’s Ireland AM show.
Kelly won the Laois final in December and then saw off competition from Offaly’s Jessie Morris from Dezynamite and Westmeath’s Enda Geoghegan from Lift Hire Ireland. Kildare were also in the same region but weren’t represented in the best established category.
In total there were over 200 entries in the four counties in this region with over 1800 entries across the country.
Laois were represented in the Best Business Idea by Francis Cosgrave and by Alan Meredith in the Best Start Up category. Those categories were won by Kildare’s Jenny Reynolds from Topper Technologies Ltd and Westmeath’s James Sherlock from Smart Business Analytics.
Among the speakers at the event were Honor Deevy from the Laois Local Enterprise Office, Cllr Tom Mulhall, Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council
and Gerry Murphy, also from Laois County Council.
“There is an incredible amount of talent across the four counties,” said Gerry Murphy while Cllr Mulhall added “that no matter how small your idea may seem to be, it’s great to see young people backing themselves and creating jobs in the midland region.”
Kelly – who is getting married later this year and will make her own wedding cake (no pressure there!) – attended the event with her parents Paul and Helen.