Meath’s best young entrepreneurs have been announced at the County Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which took place in Bellinter House, Navan on 13 December.
IBYE, which has a €2 million investment fund, is run by all thirity-one 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 Meath as Alvan Hunt, age twenty-five years, from Hexafly in Kells, Co. Meath. The entrepreneur also won the category for Best Business Idea and an investment fund from LEO Meath worth €7,000.
The other main category winners on the day were Jamie Queeney (age thirty years) from miDesc in Enfield, in the Best Start Up Business Category and Barry Goulding (age thirty-three years) from BSG Design Limited in Trim, in the Best Established Business category. The top prize in the Start Up category was €15,000, with a top prize of €15,000 also for the Established Business category. All three category winners will now be representing the County at one of eight IBYE Regional Finals, taking place during January and February 2017.
Meanwhile, the category runners-up also shared an investment of €13,000 between their three businesses. They were: Maria Kealy Johnson, age thirty years, from Kilmessan with the Transformation Pod, in the Best Business Idea category; Dorene Mallon, age thirty-four years, from The Farmers Daughter in Balrath, Kells, in the Best Business Start Up category and finally, Darragh McKiernan, age twenty-seven years, from Express Spares in Athboy in the Best Established Business category.
Joe English is the Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Meath and he 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: Minister Helen McEntee TD, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council, Councillor Maria Murphy and Chief Executive of Meath County Council, Ms Jackie Maguire.
The vital role of the judging panel was also acknowledged at the awards ceremony and this year’s judges included: Joe English, Head of Enterprise, LEO Meath; Mandy Murphy, Retail and Business Manager AIB, Meath-West / Meath-Longford and Padraig Warren of Chinook Consulting in Blackrock, Co. Louth. The Regional Finals for IBYE are taking place in January and February 2017, to select 24 national finalists across the three competition categories.
Further details on the competition and supports available to young entrepreneurs are available through www.localenterprise.ie and from the IBYE website at www.ibye.ie.