Donegal teenager wins entrepreneur award with gender-neutral clothes

Katie McGloin’s KT Clothing beats 320 entrants to win prestigious Fóroige title

KT Clothing: set up by Katie McGloin, a transition-year student from Coláiste Mhaigh Éne in Bundoran

KT Clothing: set up by Katie McGloin, a transition-year student from Coláiste Mhaigh Éne in Bundoran

 

A Donegal teenager who set up a business designing and marketing gender-neutral clothes has won the Foróige Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.

KT Clothing, set up by Katie McGloin (16), a transition-year student from Coláiste Mhaigh Éne in Bundoran, was selected from more than 320 entrants for the award.

Ms McGloin set up the business six months ago, and to date it has a single product line, a grey “I Am Myself”sweatshirt with both long- and short-sleeved T-shirt versions.

She said gender-neutral clothes were not the same as unisex clothing. Unisex clothing was usually designed for a man’s body, though both men and women can wear it, she said. Unisex clothing produced different versions of the same range for men and women.

Ms McGloin has a website, ktclothingco.com, and the range is also stocked in the Bundoran surfing shop.

“To expand my product line is one of my big goals,” she said. “I can’t believe I won. It’s so nice to get recognition for something you have worked so hard on. ”

Seven entrepreneurs exhibiting 14 products were shortlisted for the award. Personalised dog collars, hand-crafted pencil holders and cosmic tie-dyed T-shirts were among the product items exhibited by the finalists.

Elevator pitch

The teen entrepreneurs were aged 15-17 and the winners were determined by a competitive 20-minute elevator pitch to the judging panel.

The teenagers participated in the Foróige Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship programme, which has trained more than 1,000 young enterpreneurs to date.

Foróige is the largest youth organisation in Ireland, catering for more than 50,000 young people through a network of more than 600 youth clubs and cafes.

Overall, 320 businesses participated in the programme in 2017, from 32 sites in counties Dublin, Offaly, Sligo, Donegal, Westmeath, Tipperary and Limerick.

Foróige chief executive Sean Campbell said the quality of Irish teenage enterpreneurs had been such that the Irish winner has gone on to win the European title four years in a row. He was hopeful of a fifth title in Bulgaria.

“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,” he said. “The level of leadership and passion the young people have shown throughout the process is phenomenal. This shows there is something really special about our programme and that the young people coming through it are simply world class.”