By Terry Collins | Central Coast Access News
LAURA Prael was “in shock” when she was announced outstanding young entrepreneur for 2018 at the recent Helloworld Central Coast Regional Business awards.
The founder and director of international digital agency, LEP Digital, said winning the award was something she had worked towards for years. “I had visualised myself walking on to the stage, my team cheering, as if it were a dream,” she said. “It was a surreal and euphoric feeling and definitely a career-defining moment that I won’t forget.”
When Ms Prael started the company on a part-time basis as a freelance writer in 2015, she was afraid she wouldn’t be good enough, wouldn’t be able to pay rent and would disappoint her family, but she was burnt out in her then career and wanted to work for small business owners whom she felt needed her sills. But the venture took off and within a few months, she was able to quit her job and work on LEP Digital full-time.
“Winning such a big award in my hometown is an incredible honour,” she said. “It affirms that we are doing something right in our community for our clients. Starting my business is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”
Nervous about the next phase of the awards process, where she will go up against other regional winners at the state awards ceremony, Ms Prael said her success so far outlined the importance of a diverse and equal workforce. The company staff comprises three women, all aged under 30.
“Over my career working on both client and agency sides, I noticed that not a single one of my workplaces or agencies that I worked with were run or owned by women,” she said. “To my knowledge, we are the only all-female digital agency of our size on the Central Coast.
“I hope that our presence and the award win will create a platform for more women to step up and succeed in their chosen career paths in our region. All you need to have is an idea, and the will to pursue it. As Picasso famously said, ‘Everything you imagine is real’.”
With a growing client base, Ms Prael has great plans for the company’s future. “Over the next five years, my vision is to grow by a further 400% and to become an agency that is well known in Australian media, marketing and advertising circles,” she said.
“I want to be the first choice for larger agencies when they need to outsource large content marketing projects. “I want to have six full-time staffers and an international client base and office. I’m quite interested in making more connections in the US.”