Kilkenny’s best young entrepreneurs have been announced this week at the County Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition. Run by the Local Enterprise Offices, IBYE is supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. Now in its 4th year, this year attracted almost 1,500 applications nationwide.

Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise in Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny explained: “The search to find Ireland’s best young entrepreneur back in August and we were delighted with the calibre of entries. After a very successful Enterprise Day, Bootcamp and County Final, I’m pleased to confirm that the future of enterprise and job creation in County Kilkenny is bright.”

There was joy for Eoin Treacy of Glanway Ltd with its facility location in Belview Port as he was named winner of the Best Established Business award. They were joined by John Smee of Kilkenny Cooling Systems in Hebron Industrial Estate Kilkenny, who took the runner up title in this category.

The Best Start Up category was a particularly hard-fought contest. Rory Gannon of Cake Face in Irishtown, Kilkenny was named winner, while Blaine Doyle of GlowDx from Graiguenamangh was named runner-up.

Many innovative new business concepts emerged in the Best Business Idea category. The winner was Tara Hennessy, aged 23 with her new product development Spydar. Tara is a product design graduate student from DIT and is currently developing a security camera to inhibit spider habitation. CJ O’Sullivan also aged 23 from Mooncoin Co Kilkenny scooped the runner up title with his proposal Shyft – i.e. a delivery service network using mobile & location technology to interconnect tracking a delivery & invoice process.


IBYE County Presentation

The awards ceremony was held in the Medieval Mile Museum and attended by Minister John Paul Phelan, T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with special responsibility for Local Government and Electoral Reform. Other special guests included Cathaoirleach Cllr David Fitzgerald, Councillor Breda Gardiner, Chief Executive Colette Byrne; Director of Services Sean McKeown and John Bambrick member of the Strategic Policy Committee for Economic Development, Enterprise Support and Tourism along with the 12 finalists, their family members and friends. 


The Minster John Paul Phelan TD said “Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is now in its four year and the initiative has gone from strength to strength. This year, we have had an outstanding response nationally with a total of 1,472 entries from young people up and down the country. This exceeds the initial target set by some 400. The country needs more young entrepreneurs to set-up and grow businesses in every region, to create and sustain more jobs throughout the South-East and around the country. Having met the young entrepreneurs at the IBYE County Final here in Kilkenny, 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.  

He added “I would like to congratulate this year’s participants, winners and runners-up and I would encourage them to continue to engage with LEO Kilkenny after the competition and avail of the superb services they can offer. Finally, I'd like to wish this year's Kilkenny IBYE winners the very best of luck as they fly the flag for the county at the IBYE Regional Final on January 25th next."

Each of the winners and runners-up will share in an investment fund of up to €50,000 from the Local Enterprise Office to help grow and develop their business. The 3 category winners go forward to the Regional Finals in Tinakely House, Co Wicklow on 25th January. The team in Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny will be providing intensive supports between now and then to prepare them for the regionals and hopefully Kilkenny will have a representative at the IBYE National Finals in March.”

Stay up to date with the competition by following on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube. Find out more about supports available to entrepreneurs of all ages by visiting