€2 Million Investment Fund for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs 2019

€2 Million Investment Fund for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs 2019

Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Pat Breen, along with previous winners, call on all young entrepreneurs to enter IBYE 2019 through their Local Enterprise Office

Today, Thursday 17th January, Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation together with Pat Breen T.D., Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, launched the search for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs (IBYE) 2019.

IBYE is Ireland’s most successful programme to celebrate Ireland’s young entrepreneurs, developed and run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) with the support of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland and Local Authorities. Since its inception in 2015, over 500 young entrepreneurs have received in excess of €6.5million in IBYE funding as well as a wide range of vital training and mentoring to support them on their entrepreneurial journeys.

Ireland Best Young Entrepreneur Launch 1

Now in its 5th year, the competition, which has an investment fund of €2 million, is open to people between the ages of 18 and 35 with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business. The closing date to enter this year’s competition is Friday 15th March 2019. Entering is simple, with an online application system through the IBYE website. LEO staff are on hand throughout the 31 Local Enterprise Offices if assistance is required in completing the application form.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Humphreys said: “We are so proud of our talented, creative and innovative young entrepreneurs and IBYE 2019 is the perfect way to acknowledge and celebrate them, as they are vital to the future of our economy. I urge all young entrepreneurs to call their local LEO today or log on to the IBYE website to learn about the competition and also to find out first-hand how the dedicated teams in the LEO offices around the country can help them make it happen for their businesses.”

Minister Breen said: “I have had the privilege over the past number of years of meeting many of these young entrepreneurs who have taken part in IBYE and have seen first-hand the difference it has made to their businesses. The initiative not only provides vital investment funding, but also a wide range of practical supports, all of which are available locally through our network of LEO offices. Echoing Minister Humphreys’ comments, I would encourage all young people with a business idea or currently running a business to apply for IBYE before the deadline of 15th March 2019.”

Oisín Geoghegan, Chair of network of Local Enterprise Offices said: “Taking part in IBYE 2019 will help Ireland’s young entrepreneurs move their businesses to the next level with the support of their Local Enterprise Office, whatever stage their business is at - idea, start up or an established business. Other business supports, such as management training, networking and one-to-one mentoring are also at the heart of IBYE - so there is something for all young entrepreneurs, available right on their doorsteps through the network of our 31 LEO offices.

Martin Corry, of Enterprise Ireland, said; “A trend amongst Irish entrepreneurs and those who have succeeded in IBYE is their ability to think beyond these shores. The entrepreneurship culture in Ireland is strong and that is reflected in the previous winners we have had across the years, many of whom have had global ambition. This year again we ask that our entrepreneurs think big and aspire to grow and the IBYE process will only serve to better prepare them and their businesses for the challenges ahead.”

Representing the Local Authorities, Ann Doherty, Chair of the CCMA EECC Committee said: “The key to success to date has been that IBYE starts at local level and our young entrepreneurs then have the opportunity to go forward to regional and ultimately national awards, proudly representing their region. Through the network of 31 LEO Offices, the Local Authorities are very focused on supporting young entrepreneurs, ensuring that at grassroots level, any young person with a business idea is given every support and encouragement to start and grow their business, whatever stage their business is at. They are the future of our local economies, creating new businesses and providing vital sustainable local jobs in our communities.”

IBYE is a nationwide competition, run across three categories: Best Business Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business. As part of the IBYE process, up to 450 young entrepreneurs will be invited by the LEOs to attend free regional ‘Entrepreneur Bootcamps’ later in the year to help them develop their businesses and new venture ideas.

With an IBYE investment fund of €50,000 each, every LEO will award up to six investments to three category winners and three runners-up at county level. The local winners in the Best Start-Up and Best Established Business categories at county level will receive investments of up to €15,000 each and the two runners-up will each receive up to €5,000.

The Best Business Idea winner at county level will receive an investment of up to €7,000 and the runner-up will receive up to €3,000 of investment. These winners at county level will progress to Regional Finals during the summer with the national IBYE finals taking place on 15th September 2019.

Former IBYE regional winners and national finalists helped to launch the competition in Dublin, including Mark Baldwin of SchooVR and Matthew McCann of Access Earth. Baldwin and McCann were both national finalists of IBYE in 2018 in the Best Business Idea category and have since gone on to grow their businesses following their IBYE experience last year.

To enter, young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 should visit https://www.ibye.ie/submit-form to submit their applications online. The closing date for entries is Friday 15th March 2019 and there are no entry fees.

Further information and details are also available from the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide through www.localenterprise.ie & www.IBYE.ie