A transition-year student from Coláiste Mhaigh Éne in Bundoran has clinched the title 'Foróige Youth Entrepreneur of the Year' award 2017.
Katie McGloin, 16, was present at the event which took place in the Mansion House in Dublin where fourteen finalists managing seven start-up businesses pitched their products to a panel of expert judges from the business world.
The judges included Stephen Vernon, M.D., Green Properties; Laura Lunch, Head of Youth Banking, Bank of Ireland; Siobhan Daly; Senior Supply Chain Specialist, Jazz Pharmaceutical and Judging Panel Chair and John Cahill, Assistant Chief Executive, Foróige.
Ms McGloin’s business K.T. Clothing produces gender neutral clothing targeted towards people who prefer non gender specific clothes. The company's mission is to offer affordable products, which allow customers to feel comfortable, and can be worn in different styles.
Ms McGloin has a website, ktclothingco.com, and the range is also stocked in the Bundoran surfing shop.
The finalists were from Limerick, Offaly, Sligo, Donegal and Dublin made the final from 1,000 young entrepreneurs who set up start-up businesses as part of the Foróige Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) programme this year.
Products developed by the seven finalists included laser made keyring puzzles, gender neutral clothing, wheelie bin clips for windy weather, hand-made soaps for skin conditions; hand-crafted pencil holders, personalised dog collars and cosmic tie-dyed t-shirts.
The Chief Executive of Foróige, Sean Campbell, said: "We are so proud of Katie and all of the finalists. Entrepreneurship is a rare skill, it takes a special mix of creativity, determination, self-discipline and competitiveness to get a business off the ground. These young entrepreneurs have not only created high quality marketable products and thriving businesses, they have laid the foundation for their future careers and earned critical skills for the modern world. The level of leadership and passion the young people have shown throughout the process is phenomenal and I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate each and every finalist."
For the past four years, the winner of the Foróige competition has won the European title. "
"We are delighted that Katie will represent Ireland at the European level in Bulgaria later this year,” Mr Campbell said.