New National Competition to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur

Winning business at county level could receive investment of up to €25,000, national winners eligible for extra investment of up to €50,000.

The Taoiseach and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation have launched a new competition to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, with a total fund of €2million available to invest in winning businesses and entrepreneurs throughout Ireland.

The competition will be run by the new Local Enterprise Offices, and the winners at county level will be eligible for an investment in their business of up to €25,000, while the winners at national level can receive an additional investment of up to €50,000. Investments in winning businesses will be determined according to business prospects and investment needs.

Mentoring, marketing and other supports will also be available to participating businesses at various stages of the competition.

The competition is open to individuals aged 30 and under and will be judged under three distinct categories:

  • Best new idea
  • Best start-up business
  • Best established business with new add-on

The first stage will be a county-based competition (run by the 31 LEOs) leading to the naming of the Best Young Entrepreneur in each county. This stage will include boot camps and mentoring programmes. This will be followed by regional finals and ultimately national finals with one business-person being crowned Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur before the end of the year.

The aim of the initiative is to encourage and support a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in Ireland, to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage the establishment and development of new innovative businesses by Ireland’s young entrepreneurs. This is hugely important for job-creation as two thirds of all new jobs are generated by businesses in the first five years of existence – more start-ups and a thriving entrepreneurial culture will lead to more jobs being created.

Launching the competition today, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD said: "I see the entrepreneurial spirit of young Irish people everywhere I go and the Government wants to support that so that young entrepreneurs can realise their ambitions and their business success can help make recovery local in every part of the country.  This competition being run by the new network of Local Enterprise Offices can give a young individual or business a real injection of capital and expertise to take their ideas to the next level. The vast majority of the 1,200 jobs created each week last year were in small, local companies so it is obvious there is real potential to grow further jobs by supporting local entrepreneurs."

Interested in Applying?

Visit for further information on the competition and to apply.