Young entrepreneurs from all counties in Ireland have received a total of €1.5 million in investment funding through their involvement in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition.
A total of 180 talented entrepreneurs across every county in Ireland, aged between 18 and 35, have been awarded the funding through the Local Enterprise Offices after winning, or becoming runners up, in IBYE County Finals. The competition now moves to Regional Final stage, involving 91 category winners.
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 and help develop new products for international markets.
This year saw a 32% rise in entries to IBYE nationally, with 1,842 entrepreneurs competing in three different categories: Best Business Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business. As part of the supports on offer through the competition, more than 400 young entrepreneurs 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.
Congratulating the county winners and 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.”
Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices also congratulated the 180 young entrepreneurs, saying:
“The LEOs see the IBYE initiative as an important springboard for young entrepreneurs who want to start or expand a business. The 180 young entrepreneurs who have shared in the €1.5 million investment funding can now make their business ideas and expansion plans a reality in 2017 and beyond. IBYE is also about nurturing our younger entrepreneurs through boot-camps, training, networking and mentoring, with job creation benefits for every county.”
“Every young entrepreneur who entered IBYE, all 1,842 of them, will continue to have the support of their Local Enterprise Office all year around.” she added.
Up to 24 entrepreneurs (three from each region – one in each category) will be selected at eight IBYE Regional Finals over the next few weeks to compete for the national title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in March.
The Regional Finalists have diverse businesses ranging from an Irish whiskey distillery; healthcare data and analytics for sleep disorder breathing; ‘glamping’ accommodation; to exercise equipment to be used with an App.
Minister Mitchell O’ Connor T.D. announced that 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 Regional Finalists are hoping to follow in the footsteps of the 2015 national winners: James Foody of Ayda in South Cork, (Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur for 2015 and Best Start-Up Business), Blaine Doyle of GlowDX in Kilkenny, (Best Business Idea), and James Keogh of Rathwood in Wicklow, (Best Established Business). The inaugural winner of the competition in 2014 was Eamon Keane of Xpreso Software in South Dublin.
The names of county winners and the supports available to young entrepreneurs are available through www.localenterprise.ie and from the IBYE website at www.ibye.ie.