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2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Department of Public Instruction, Junior Achievement of Wisconsin (JA), and Ernst and Young (EY) named Laney Hughes as the 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Laney was chosen based on her work developing a clothing embroidery company, Shallocat , she started at the age of 13. Laney will be recognized during the JA’s Wisconsin Business Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on May 1st in Milwaukee.

Hughes’ passion for her clothing designs and innovative business model were noted as reasons why she was selected for this year’s award. All of her designs featured on Shallocat are unique and created by Hughes herself. She began selling her clothing on Etsy in 2014 and soon discovered that using social media would help expand her business venture. Since opening her online store, Laney has sold more than 1,000 clothing items to customers in 12 different countries.

The recipient of the Young Entrepreneur award is selected from a joint committee, with members from JA and DPI that evaluate applicants on the following criteria: business success, growth potential, social involvement, ability to overcome challenges, strategic direction, innovation, personal integrity, and leadership. The Young Entrepreneur of the Year receives a $2,000 scholarship.

“Our partnership with Junior Achievement allows us to cultivate interest in entrepreneurship and celebrate the inspiring work taking place in our schools,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “I want to congratulate this year’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Laney Hughes, on her accomplishments to date and wish her success going forward.”

For more information on the 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Laney Hughes, please visit the DPI Entrepreneurship website for videos that showcase the winning projects. Also, for general information on the award, visit and