Kilkenny’s Best Young Entrepreneurs Announced

This competition is for young entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35. 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 overall “best young entrepreneur” for the county was named by Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny as Mel Clohosey, age 33 from Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny for his business proposal SocialFeedia. The entrepreneur also won the category for Best Idea Category and an investment fund from LEO Kilkenny worth €7,000. The concept is to build a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, buy and supply freshly produced local food – online, from a mobile or from door-to-door service. In essence Mel explains that SocialFeedia is a for fresh local food. SocialFeedia will connect people who want to sell local food with people who want to buy local food.

The other main category winner on the day was Leanne Nolan in the Best Start-Up Category. Leanne established her business Vow2WOW just over one year ago. She currently offers a specialised award–winning freelance bridal hairstyling service with plans to expand into developing a hairdressing academy. Both Mel Clohosey and Leanne Nolan will now be representing the County at the IBYE Regional Finals, taking place at the end of January 2017 in Wexford.

Meanwhile, the category runners-up also shared an investment of €8,000 between their businesses. They were: Laura Fennelly, 24 year old recently qualified chartered physiotherapist who was awarded runner-up in the Best Idea Category. Laura is currently developing an app to enable both the physiotherapist and the client to work together as a team. Runner Up in the Best Start-Up Category is a young entrepreneur from Windgap County Kilkenny Luke Dunne aged just 23 with his business Dunne Farm Services Ltd. Luke, although not originally from a farming background, through his love and passion for farming along with his entrepreneurial ambitions has established a farm supply services company. The business concentrates on selling products that will save time, labour and money for the farmer.

 IBYE County Finals

left to Right: Luke Dunne, Best Start-Up Category Runner Up; Leanne Nolan, Best Start-Up Category Winner; Mel Clohosey, Best Idea Category Winner and Laura Fennelly, Best Idea Category Runner-Up.

Fiona Deegan is the Head of Enterprise (Acting) with Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny and she 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 County Final, the future is bright for both youth entrepreneurship and job creation in the region.”

Special guests at the IBYE County Final included: Cathaoireach Cllr Matt Doran; Cllr Pat Millea, Chairperson of the SPC – Economic, Enterprise Support and Tourism; Chief Executive Kilkenny County Council, Collette Byrne and Head of Finance, Kilkenny County Council Martin Prendiville.

The vital role of the judging panel was also acknowledged at the awards ceremony and this year’s judges included: Fiona Deegan, LEO Kilkenny, Carole Thurston, South East BIC and Blaise Brosnan, Management Resource Institute. Further details on the competition and supports available to young entrepreneurs are available through and from the IBYE website at