Galway Wins National IBYE Award

Local Enterprise Galway’s client Dr. Brendan Boland of Loci Orthopaedics was named one of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs on Sunday at the National Final in Dublin’s Google HQ.

Brendan won the Best Business Idea category ahead of seven other finalists from around Ireland and secured a €12,000 investment fund for his business.

Brendan Boland Thumbnail Winner 1

As CEO of Loci Orthopaedics, Brendan and his team have developed the InDx implant, a new surgical joint replacement device for patients with arthritis of the thumb base joint. It has the potential to completely disrupt how painful thumb joint arthritis is treated as it accommodates the natural movements of the thumb base joint. This results in an improved functional outcome and a less invasive surgery over currently available treatments. With over 40 million affected with this condition across the US and EU, the thumb base arthritis procedures market is estimated at over €600 million per annum. 

Originally from Kildare, Galway-based Brendan represented Local Enterprise Office Galway. He graduated from UCD medicine in 2006 before going on to practice medicine for 6 years, at which time he went on to undertake a Masters in Medical Device Innovation as part of the prestigious Bioinnovate Fellowship program. Through this, he identified this unmet clinical need for treatment of thumb base joint arthritis.  

Brendan was thrilled with his experience of the competition from start to finish. “The IBYE competition has been a fantastic experience from start to finish. The Galway LEO has provided great support to both myself and my company throughout the process. I was absolutely delighted to win the Best Business Idea at the National Final and take the national title for the category back to Galway. The IBYE competition is a superb competition for any young entrepreneur regardless of the stage of their business. The established businesses described how they learned and gained from the experience every bit as much as the newer start-ups.”

Breda Fox of LEO Galway praised Brendan’s win. “We are thrilled for Brendan and delighted to have been able to support him throughout his IBYE journey. We encourage all future participants to avail of the supports offered by their local Enterprise Office, as they move forward in their entrepreneurial endeavors”.

The IBYE programme, which is run by the network of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) nationwide and supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland, attracted over 1,400 applicants in 2018 with an investment fund of €2million. Already this year, 185 entrants have secured investments of between €3,000 and €15,000. 

Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D., made the announcement in front of 360 guests at the IBYE National Final, held at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin yesterday. Minister Breen said; “All of the finalists are to be commended on the very high standard of their entries.  Ireland’s strong entrepreneurial culture is in safe hands for the future.”

Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D., said; “The IBYE process, which is delivered by our network of Local Enterprise Offices, is not simply about creating award-winners; it’s about giving entrepreneurs the tools they need to bring their ideas to life and, ultimately, create sustainable jobs. The success of the competition has clearly demonstrated the appetite for young Irish people to start their own business. The facts speak for themselves: including this year’s applicants, over 5,700 18-35 year old's have applied for funding to develop their business ideas over the past four years. Research now shows that the €5m the Government has invested in IBYE between 2014 – 2016 has supported over 2,200 jobs and generated €124m in sales. We will continue to support our entrepreneurs to help them bring their businesses to life. I would like to commend the businesses involved, not to mention the staff behind our network of LEOs, for their strong dedication to the initiative.”

The judging panel for this year’s IBYE was chaired by Paddy Flynn, Director of Trust and Safety, Google.  The other members of the panel were Eugene Forde, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Joe Healy, Enterprise Ireland, Rita Guinan, LEO Tipperary, Brian Crowley, CEO of TTM Healthcare and Sarah Doyle, CEO of Kinesense. Broadcaster Claire Byrne was the Awards host.

More information on IBYE can be found on and for more information on Local Enterprise Office initiatives such as the Student Enterprise Programme and the National Enterprise Awards see





Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) programme has been running since 2014.  Research commissioned by Enterprise Ireland for IBYE 2014 – 2016 Report, found that the 348 entrepreneurs, funded by the programme are currently generating annual revenue of €124million.  The research also highlighted that they are employing over 2,200 people.  In addition, 1,350 entrepreneurs received business boot camp training and one to one mentoring.  




Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2018 – Facts & Figures


The programme provides a €2million investment fund with targeted business development supports

3 categories; Best Business Idea (Pre-Trading), Best Start-Up Business (up to 18 months) and Best Established Business (Over 18 months)

The programme is run by the network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices across the country and supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland

Over 1,400 entrants applied to be Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur for 2018

Over 400 places were provided at Business Bootcamps for entrants

185 local winners and runners-up sharing investments between €3,000 and €15,000

8 regional finals were hosted across the country

An investment fund of €100,000 was provided for the National Winners and Runners-Up


Overall Winner – Conor O’Loughlin – Glofox - €20,000


Category Winners

Best Business Idea

Winner – Brendan Boland – Loci Orthopaedics - €12,000

Runner-Up – Joe Perrott – Remote Signals - €4,000

Second Runner-Up – Kevin Kelleher – Ostoform - €4,000


Best Start-Up Business

         Winner – Alan Hickey – WeBringg - €20,000

         Runner-Up – Ciaran Gorman – BevCraft - €5,000

         Second Runner-Up – Jessica Kavanagh – Olann - €5,000


Best Established Business

         Winner – Conor O’Loughlin - Glofox €20,000

         Runner-Up – Paddy Finn – Electricity Exchange - €5,000

         Second Runner-Up – Robbie Skuse – - €5,000