County Clare’s Best Young Entrepreneurs Announced

County Clare’s Best Young Entrepreneurs Announced

 €50,000 investment fund presented by Local Enterprise Office Clare to six young entrepreneurs in the county, all aged between 18 and 35.

Clare’s best young entrepreneurs have been announced at the County Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which took place in the Buttermarket Building in Ennis last night.

IBYE, which has a €2 million investment fund, is run by all 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.

The overall “best young entrepreneur” for the county was named by Local Enterprise Office Clare as Damian Mason age 35 with his business idea Flexibod based in Scariff. The entrepreneur also won the category for Best Business Idea and an investment fund from LEO Clare worth €7,000.Damian Mason Overall Winner IBYE

The other main category winners on the day were Aidan Quilligan age 28 with his business Clubify based in Sixmilebridge in the Best Start Up Category and Evan Talty age 31 from Wild Irish Seaweed based in Quilty in the Best Established Business category. The top prize in the Best Start Up category was €15,000, with a top prize of € 15,000 for the Best Established Business category. All three category winners will now be representing the County at one of eight IBYE Regional Finals, taking place during January and February 2017.

Meanwhile, the category runners-up also shared an investment of €13,000 between their three businesses. They were: Brian Kelly age 32 with his idea Bull Match based in Kilnaboy in the Best Business Idea category; Michael Eustace age 35 from Western Herd Brewery based in Kilmaley in the Best Start Up Business category and finally Caroline Gardiner age 33 from Carrie’s Cakes based in Ennis in the Best Established Business category.

Attending the event, Minister for Employment and Small Business, and local T.D., Pat Breen T.D., said: "Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is now in its third year and the initiative has gone from strength to strength. This year, we have had an outstanding response nationally with a record breaking 1,800 entries from young people up and down the country. This exceeds last year’s amount by some 400. It is very encouraging to see that the number of entries from Co. Clare also rose this year, from 31 applicants in 2015 to 46 in 2016.

Having met the young entrepreneurs at the IBYE County Final here in Clare, I can see the wealth of talent that exists in the county. IBYE is a fantastic initiative that can support this business ambition and potential in our younger entrepreneurs all around Ireland.  

The country needs more young entrepreneurs to set-up and grow businesses in every region, to create and sustain more jobs throughout the Mid-West and around the country. I would like to congratulate this year’s participants, winners and runners-up and I would encourage them to continue to engage with LEO Clare after the competition and avail of the superb services they can offer. Finally, I'd like to wish this year's Clare IBYE winners the very best of luck as they fly the flag for the county at the IBYE Mid-West Regional Final on January 23rd next."

Padraic McElAidan Quilligan Best Start Up IBYEwee, Head of Enterprise Clare, commented “The primary purpose of the IBYE initiative is a springboard for young entrepreneurs in Clare who want to start or expand a business. The number of initial entries for this year’s competition exceeded our expectations with 19 young entrepreneurs progressing to the final stages. The quality and commitment of this year’s finalists made it difficult for our judges to select the award winners with very little separating the different participants. This augurs well for the future of our young entrepreneurs and I look forward to assisting all tonight’s finalists progress their business aspirations and create much needed employment in Clare. Finally, I congratulate tonight’s award winners and wish tonight’s category winners every success as they progress now to represent Clare at the upcoming Regional finals in late January"

Special guests at the IBYE County Final included: Cathaoirleach Clare County Council Cllr. Bill Chambers and Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen T.D.

Evan Talty, Best Est IBYE

The vital role of the judging panel was also acknowledged at the awards ceremony and this year’s judges included: Harriet Cotter, Senior Regional Development Executive with Enterprise Ireland, Noel Marshall, entrepreneur & inventor of Bricky and BackBaller and Michael Byrnes CEO of Acton BV. The Regional Finals for IBYE are taking place in January and February 2017, to select 24 national finalists across the three competition categories.

Further details on the competition and supports available to young entrepreneurs are available through and from the IBYE website at