Three young entrepreneurs from Leitrim are going head-to-head with entrepreneurs from Longford, Sligo and Donegal at the Regional Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which takes place on January 26th at the Radisson Hotel in Sligo.
Local Enterprise Office Leitrim will be represented at this year’s Regional Final by:
- Aoife Mc Niffe, age 28 of Against the Grain, Foxfield, Carrick on Shannon (Best Business Idea Category).
- Lorcan Kearns, age 28 of Wild Atlantic Crusades, Kinlough (Best Start-Up Business Category).
- Michelle Fanning, age 28 of Assorted fitness, Ballinamore (Best Established Business Category).
On January 26th, three finalists will be selected by the judging panel to compete at the IBYE National Final in March, one from each competition category.
So far, 180 talented entrepreneurs across every county in Ireland, aged between 18 and 35, have been awarded a total of €1.5 million in investment funding through the Local Enterprise Offices, after winning or becoming runners-up in IBYE County Finals.
This initiative for young entrepreneurs is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) nationwide, and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. The investment awards will be used by the young entrepreneurs to help fund business start-ups, create new jobs locally or to help develop new products for international markets.
As part of the supports on offer through the competition, more than 400 young entrepreneurs around the country benefited from boot-camp training sessions in which they were put through their paces in every aspect of how to start and develop a business.
Announcing details for the Regional Finals, The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D, said:
“This competition highlights that Ireland’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. Our young entrepreneurs are the employers of the future, and are the backbone of the Irish economy. This investment will help all their businesses to grow and flourish and in turn will create and support more jobs throughout every region. I look forward to meeting more of our incredible entrepreneurial talent from around the country at the next stage of the competition.”
The IBYE Regional Finals will take place in:
- Waterford on January 19th (with young entrepreneurs representing LEO Waterford, LEO Cork City, LEO Cork North & West and LEO South Cork).
- Clare on January 23rd (with young entrepreneurs representing LEO Clare, LEO Kerry, LEO Limerick and LEO Tipperary).
- Meath on January 24th (with young entrepreneurs representing LEO Meath, LEO Cavan, LEO Louth and LEO Monaghan).
- Dublin on January 25th (with young entrepreneurs representing LEO Fingal, LEO Dublin City, LEO Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and LEO South Dublin).
- Sligo on January 26th (with young entrepreneurs representing LEO Sligo, LEO Donegal, LEO Leitrim and LEO Longford).
- Roscommon on January 27th (with young entrepreneurs representing LEO Roscommon, LEO Galway and LEO Mayo).
- Wexford on January 31st (with young entrepreneurs representing LEO Wexford, LEO Carlow, LEO Kilkenny and LEO Wicklow).
- Laois on February 1st (with young entrepreneurs representing LEO Laois, LEO Kildare, LEO Offaly and LEO Westmeath)
The competition attracted a record number of entries, with 1,842 applying in total and 168 applying from the region. Joe Lowe, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Leitrim wished local category winners the best of luck at the Regional Final, saying:
“We see the IBYE initiative as an important springboard for our young entrepreneurs who want to start or expand a business. The 180 entrepreneurs across every county in Ireland who share €1.5 million in investment funding, which include our County Winners and Runners-up, can now make their business ideas and expansion plans a reality in 2017. It’s also about nurturing entrepreneurs through bootcamps, training, networking and mentoring, with job creation benefits throughout the region.”
In Sligo on January 26th, the young entrepreneurs are hoping to follow in the footsteps of the three 2015 National Finalists from the region: Niall Mc Gonigle of McGonigle Industries from Donegal in the Best Business Idea category, Niall Mimnagh of Mimergy in Longford in the Best Start-Up Business category, and Jennifer Wrynne of Jennifer Wrynne Ltd in Leitrim in the Best Established Business Category.
More details about the competition and the supports available to young entrepreneurs are available through www.localenterprise.ie and from the IBYE website at www.ibye.ie.