Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Minister Pat Breen announce winners of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition at Google European HQ, Dublin
A 26-year-old biotech entrepreneur based in Kells, Co. Meath has won the ‘Best Business Idea’ category at Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition.
Alvan Hunt of Hexafly wins a €15,000 investment fund through the Local Enterprise Offices after scooping the category title at the IBYE national final.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., made the announcement in front of 360 guests at the IBYE national final held at Google’s European Headquarters yesterday (Sunday 5th March, 2017).
The competition, which is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland and run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices, attracted entries from over 1,800 18-to-35-year-olds, showcasing some of the country’s best and brightest business talent.
Alvan co-founded Hexafly with friends from University to use cutting-edge biotechnology to find smart ways to feed the planet by producing proteins, insect oils and fertilisers. The company employs four people and plans to launch one of the world’s first liquid natural fertilizers later in the year.
Meanwhile Ciara Clancy (age 26) of Beats Medical in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown won the ‘Best Established Business’ category and was also named overall winner. Samuel Dennigan (age 31) of Strong Roots in Dublin City won the ‘Best Start-Up Business’ category.
Beats Medical is a smartphone app that helps treat people with Parkinson’s Disease through metronome therapy and Hexafly uses cutting-edge biotechnology to find smart ways to feed the planet.
The ‘Best Promotion of Business On-Line’ Google award went to Richard Barrett (age 27) of Pundit Arena in South Cork.
The three category runners-up were Damien Mason (age 35) of Flexibod in Clare in the ‘Best Business Idea’ category, Roisin Hogan (age 35) of HIRO by Roisin in Louth in the ‘Best Start-Up Business’ category and Heinrich Anhold (age 35) of StableLab in Sligo in the ‘Best Established Business’ category.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., said: “I want to congratulate and say a hearty 'well done' to all IBYE winners. It is a superb achievement. That said, all of our finalists here today are winners, having taken their ideas and concepts through a tough and rigorous process to make them market ready. Seeing their projects come to fruition is enormously gratifying and is testament to the huge effort they have invested. Today's young entrepreneurs are tomorrow's employers and IBYE, which was set up under the Government's Action Plan for Jobs, has proven to be a very effective way of fostering entrepreneurship in our young people. I want to pay tribute to my own Department, Enterprise Ireland and to the LEOs who have done a great job again this year in supporting this initiative."
Minister for Employment and Small Business, Mr. Pat Breen T.D., said: “Congratulations to all winners and I wish you all every success going forward in developing your businesses. Your success is critical to the future of our economy and job creation prospects. I believe that all finalists here today, and indeed every one of the IBYE participants throughout all the stages of the competition will have taken something very positive away from your experiences over the last few months. IBYE is not just a competition, it is a training ground to guide and mentor young entrepreneurs through all the stages of developing and sustaining a business.”
Speaking on behalf of Local Enterprise Office Meath, Joe English, Head of Enterprise, said: “A huge congratulations to Alvan Hunt on winning the ‘Best Business Idea’ category for Hexafly thanks to his commitment, drive and passion for biotechnology and enterprise. Through IBYE and other targeted enterprise initiatives, LEO Meath wants to encourage many more young entrepreneurs, like Alvan to avail of specialist training, mentoring and to access to financial assistance through Local Enterprise Offices in every local authority area.”
The judging panel was chaired by Paddy Flynn, Director of Trust and Safety with Google. The other members of the judging panel were Eugene Forde, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Orla Martin, Head of Enterprise, LEO Offaly, Niall O’ Donnellan, Enterprise Ireland, Brian Crowley, CEO, TTM Healthcare and Sarah Doyle, CEO, Kinesense. Broadcaster Claire Byrne acted as MC.
Already through the competition, 180 entrants have won investments of between €3,000 and €15,000 each from their local LEO. This year’s winners and runners-up will share €100,000 in investment funding.
The IBYE national final took place on the opening day of Local Enterprise Week, which runs nationwide through Local Enterprise Offices until March 10th. Information on the supports available to entrepreneurs through the Local Enterprise Offices is available through www.ibye.ie and www.localenterprise.ie.