IBYE County Final Awards Ceremony

Kildare County Council Local Enterprise Office’s Best Young Entrepreneurs and €50,000 investment fund winners


Young entrepreneurs from Kilcullen, The Curragh and Maynooth win places at Regional Finals


Kildare’s “Best Young Entrepreneurs” for 2019 and €50,000 investment fund winners were announced at an awards ceremony hosted by Kildare County Council’s Local Enterprise Office yesterday.


As part of a nationwide search launched by Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Pat Breen to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs (IBYE) for 2019, the six winners and runners-up were chosen from 18 local finalists and will now share a €50,000 investment fund.


IBYE, now in its fifth year, is a nationwide youth enterprise initiative to help 18-to-35 year olds with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business. In 2019, 1,644 young entrepreneurs entered IBYE, which is an initiative of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and supported by Enterprise Ireland and local authorities.


The county final was hosted by Worlds Leading Mind Mentalist Keith Barry. Among the special guests at the awards ceremony was Mayor Sean Power.


The ‘Best New Idea’ category, with a €7,000 investment fund, was won by Claire Afolabi aged 34, founder of Little Sitters in Kilcullen. The online babysitting directory

provides parents with vetted, interviewed, reference checked and trained babysitters, recruited through an easy to use website. The runner-up award and €3,000 investment fund went to Eoin Mulvey,of Naas, age 29 with arieal delivery service CarriAer - the digital infrastructure on which aerial commercial

delivery via drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will operate.


The winner of the ‘Best Start-Up Business’ category and the €15,000 investment fund was Pierce Dargan aged 26, founder of Tincomy Ltd T/A Equine MediRecord in The Curragh. The subscription-based software service automates medical record compliance in the equine industry.

The runner-up in this category, collecting a €5,000 investment fund, was John Keegan, aged 34, of Ellie Professional Signature Men's Grooming Products - a luxury mens hair styling product range in Celbridge.


Meanwhile, the title of ‘Best Established Business’, with an investment fund of €15,000, went to Conor Browne, aged 28, founder of Conor Browne Wreaths. Ireland’s largest producer of fresh Christmas wreaths, foliage, Christmas trees and florist sundries. The runner-up in this category, scooping a €5,000 investment fund, was Denise Phillips, aged 34, of Pelo hairdressing

in Newbridge. The hair scalp specialists offer free scalp camera service and alopecia t-parting fitters

and wigs.


Conor Browne was also awarded the title of ‘Best Young Entrepreneur’ for Kildare.


In the lead-up to the county final, each finalist received targeted business supports through Local Enterprise Office Kildare. They attended an intensive Business Boot Camp, receiving mentoring and support on their business plans, pitch training as well as getting the opportunity to connect with other young entrepreneurs from Kildare.


Peter Carey, Chief Executive Kildare County Council said: “As our winners clearly demonstrate, youth entrepreneurship is thriving here in Kildare. IBYE is about discovering local potential and nurturing that talent through financial supports, mentoring, training and networking opportunities. In 2019, Local Enterprise Office Kildare supported 62 young entrepreneurs through the IBYE competition and over approximatley 300 young entrepreneurs in total, since the competition began in 2014. We want to build on that success by supporting Kildare’s young entrepreneurs today and into the future.”.


The county winners from Kildare will now progress to the regional finals, which take place in June. In all, 24 national finalists will be selected at regional finals across the country to compete for the overall title of “Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.”


At the IBYE national final on Sunday 15th September, which takes place at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin, a €100,000 investment fund will be awarded to winners.


Further details on the competition and supports available to young entrepreneurs are available through www.localenterprise.ie and www.ibye.ie .