Abbeyleix businesswoman has fuel for ambition after ‘Steps to Success’ Roadshow in Portlaoise

Alison McEvoy wins Elevator Pitch prize at event supported by Enterprise Ireland and Network Ireland, in conjunction with the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and the Entrepreneurs Academy

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly

Nearly 100 business women and entrepreneurs attended the Fuelling Ambition ‘Steps to Success’ Roadshow in Portlaoise organised by Enterprise Ireland and Network Ireland, in conjunction with the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) and the Entrepreneurs Academy.

The aim of the roadshow, which took place at the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel, was to encourage, support and drive the ambition of female entrepreneurs by showcasing the ‘Steps to Success’ of thriving Irish business women and entrepreneurs.

Visiting seven locations nationwide, the roadshow features an Elevator Pitch competition worth €4,000 at each location.
The winner of the midlands competition is Alison McEvoy of AA McEvoy Kidswear, Abbeyleix Co Laois, a children’s clothing label that uses organic materials and gender neutral styles and colours. Her first collection will be launched in the autumn and Alison has already been named as “one to watch” by top UK Childrenswear Trade magazine – CWB.

The prize package is designed to fast-track each winner along the steps to business success and includes:

- 10 sessions with Enterprise Ireland Mentors and attendance at Enterprise Ireland’s Excel at Export Selling training programme

- Annual membership of Network Ireland.

- Leadership training programme with the Entrepreneurs Academy, a national entrepreneur development organisation that has trained and supported 30,000 start-ups and small businesses.

Guest speakers at the Midlands roadshow were leading entrepreneurs Helen Gee of Gs Gourmet Jams based just outside Abbeyleix and Maryrose Simpson of based in Stradbally. MC for the night was former Minister Mary O’Rourke.

Representatives from Enterprise Ireland, the Laois LEO and Network Ireland and their new Laois branch were on hand to discuss the range of supports available to female entrepreneurs and those thinking of starting their own businesses. The event provided women with an opportunity to network with entrepreneurs and business people.

The roadshow will also visit Sligo (11 May), Bunratty (14 June) and Cavan (28 June). They are free of charge to existing and potential entrepreneurs and business women. Booking is strongly advised.

Full details are available on; and