Monday 24 June 2019

Louth's best young entrepreneurs named

Margaret Roddy

Louth's young entrepreneurs are full of bright ideas, especially when it comes to food and nutrition. The three winners in the County Finals of Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur 2019 have all focused on this growth area.

Twenty year Orla Stafford, from Drogheda, won the award for Best Start-up Business for her multi-award winning Izmoo Gelato company. Started in Drogheda in January 2018, she is now about to open her second retail outlet in Rosslare, Orla also 'scooped' the overall county winner of Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur for Louth. A first year student of E-Commerce and Retailing in TU Dublin, Orla is a young entrepreneur with strong vision and big dreams.

Daniel McLoughlin of Rocksalt Café, Blackrock was the runner-up in the Best Start-Up category.

The award for best new idea went to Conor Kerley, of Setanta Nutrition Science. A Dundalk native, Conor Kerley is a Doctor of Human Nutrition and Dietetics who has developed a natural nutritional supplement that can help change the lives of people all over the world suffering with diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic conditions. By lowering blood sugar, inflammation, fats and cholesterol, his supplement will help prevent and treat debilitating conditions. Conor has already developed the prototype, is in the process of applying for a patent and starts clinical trials next month. He plans to launch his product within the next year.

Charlie Donnelly of Ducks in a Row was runner up in the Best New Idea category.

Evelyn Garland, of Simply Fit Foods was presented with the award for Best Established Business. Evelyn and her partner Luke started the company in September 2016 and are based at Smarmore, outside Ardee. Their range of delicious, healthy ready meals have taken the Irish market by storm and are now stocked in SuperValu, Centra, Applegreen and, starting in June, Tesco. Evelyn's vision is to build a global health-food brand synonymous with healthy living and delicious dishes. The company are moving into the Northern Ireland market this summer and launching a vegan, snack and breakfast range later in the year.

Gary Reilly of Your Way Ireland was runner-up in the Best Established Business category.

The winners were presented with the awards, designed by Louth artists Declan Kelly and Els Boghart, at a ceremony at Donegan's, Monasterboice last Thursday. The calibre of entries was so high that the judges had a tough time in making their decision.

Louth County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Liam Reilly noted: 'Louth's future is very bright. The calibre of contestants in the competition this year is exceptional.' He reminded finalists that 'Louth County Council and the Local Enterprise Office are here to support you every step of your entrepreneurial journey, no matter what age you are or stage your business is at.'

Head of Enterprise for Louth Thomas McEvoy said 'Though these finalists are young, be under no illusion, they are entrepreneurs first and young second. Some of the brilliant young entrepreneurs who come through this process really are just breath-taking and the competition in Louth was extremely tough.'

The Argus