Fingal’s Best Young Entrepreneurs Announced
€50,000 investment fund presented by Local Enterprise Office Fingal to six young entrepreneurs in the county, all aged between 18 and 35.
Fingal’s best young entrepreneurs have been announced at the County Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which took place in County Hall, Main Street Swords on Wednesday evening.
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 main category winners on the day were Marcin Kulik, aged 34, Malahide with SmartTrace Software in the Best Idea category; Seamus Tighe, aged 28, Castleknock with Everest Granola Ltd. in the Best Start-Up category; and Damian O’Kelly, aged 30, Swords with Nutritics Ltd. in the Best Established Business category. The top prize in the Best Established and Best Start-Up was €15,000 each, with a top prize of €7,000 for the Best Idea category. All three category winners will now be representing the County at the Dublin IBYE Regional Finals, taking place on Wednesday 25th January 2017.
Meanwhile, the category runners-up also shared an investment of €13,000 between their businesses. They were: Mark Coleman, age 33, Rush with the Hot Seat in Best Start-Up category; Debbie McQuillan, age 34, Kinsealy of VanityX Make Up Academy in the Best Established Business category; and finally tying for the runners up position in the Best Idea category were Louisamay Hanrahan, age 24, Portmarnock with the LuvGuru App and Shane McAvinchey, age 33, Malahide with the Dance Practice Pad.
Speaking at the event, Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D., said:
"This is the third time we have run Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur and each year the initiative has gone from strength to strength. This year we have had an amazing response nationally with a record breaking 1,800 entries from young people up and down the country. This beats last year’s amount by some 400. It is very encouraging to see that the number of entries from Fingal this year is more than double that of last year.
Having met some of our young entrepreneurs at the IBYE County Final here in Fingal, I can see that the entrepreneurial spirit is growing stronger and stronger amongst our young people. The country needs more young entrepreneurs to set-up and grow businesses in every region, to create and sustain more jobs throughout all regions of the country. I would like to congratulate this year’s participants, winners and runners-up and I would encourage them to keep in contact with their LEO after the competition’.
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Oisín Geoghegan, Head of Fingal Local Enterprise Office said: “We started the search to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in August and the competition received a record-breaking number of entries this year, with 1,800 young entrepreneurs applying nationally. After a very successful IBYE bootcamp and with such a huge increase in the level of applications this year in Fingal, the future is bright for both youth entrepreneurship and job creation in the region.”
Paul Reid, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council said: “Developing an entrepreneurial culture within Fingal is extremely important as the majority of jobs are in small to medium sized companies and over 65 per cent of all new jobs are created by start-ups. We have the youngest and fastest growing population in the country so it is essential to Fingal’s continued economic prosperity that job creation and business start-ups continue to be supported and allowed to grow. This competition provides a tried and tested channel for young entrepreneurs to succeed and the record entry levels show that the young people of Fingal are full of imaginative and innovative business ideas which is extremely encouraging for the future.”.
Special guests at the Fingal IBYE County Final included: Minister of State for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen TD, Mayor of Fingal Cllr. Darragh Butler and Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid.
The Regional Finals for IBYE are taking place in January and February 2017, to select 24 national finalists across the three competition categories.
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