It’s Judging Day for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs

The country’s best and brightest business talent will gather at the Department of Jobs in Dublin today (2nd March) to compete for the title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE).

The National Finalists are pitching their business plans to the judges ahead of the National IBYE Final which takes place at The Google Foundry in Dublin on Sunday 5th March. The final decision as to who will become Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur will be made by the judging panel at Sunday’s ceremony.

With a €2million investment fund, IBYE is open to entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35 and is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide, supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.EI_DJEI_Wicklow_LEO with Group

At Sunday’s national final, a winner and runner-up will be selected in each of three IBYE categories and, along with the overall winner, will share in the €100,000 investment fund. There will also be a special award from Google for Best Promotion of Business On-line.

Welcoming the finalists to the Department of Jobs on Kildare Street, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., said: “This is an important milestone in the IBYE competition, and I wish everyone the very best of luck. All of you young entrepreneurs are shining examples of how Irish businesses can stand out and succeed in a highly competitive environment. This year’s competition has been a huge success with entries across a range of areas involving creativity, design, technology and innovation. I have had the pleasure of meeting all of the finalists along their IBYE journey and have been hugely inspired by their entrepreneurial talent and achievements.”

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Mr. Pat Breen T.D, said:  “I wish every IBYE finalist the very best of luck as the judging gets underway. Across every region, Ireland is rich in young entrepreneurial talent and this is evident in the quality of entries again this year. I hope everyone who has taken part takes something positive from their experience and will continue to benefit from the supports offered by their local LEO as their businesses develop and grow.”

Sheelagh Daly with Local Enterprise Offices said: “Through targeted enterprise initiatives, such as IBYE, we are encouraging more younger entrepreneurs to take advantage of the supports we offer. By benefitting from specialist training, mentoring and access to financial assistance, more young entrepreneurs including those taking part in IBYE, can turn their enterprise vision into a successful business.”

The judging panel will be chaired by Paddy Flynn, Director of Trust and Safety with Google. He said: “Google has supported IBYE since the competition first started in 2014 to encourage as many young entrepreneurs as possible to start and grow their business wherever they are located. If it’s one thing we’ve seen in Google, it’s that international businesses can be born anywhere thanks to the opportunity of the digital marketplace.  This year’s national finalists include a range of businesses and business ideas that have the potential to be an international success and we are looking forward to meeting all the young entrepreneurs behind these businesses when judging gets underway.”

This year’s ‘Best Business Ideas’ feature a system that alerts beekeepers to diseases, biotechnology to find smart ways to feed the planet, a chair which reduces muscle tensionand rapid tests to help GPs diagnose infectious diseases. This category also includes software for the insolvency industry, a mobile call manager app, an on-line tool to find the perfect game for gamers, and an app providing SMEs with a simple payment processing system.

Featuring in the ‘Best Start-Up Business’ (trading less than 36 months) category are an app allowing local media to compete in the battle for global digital advertising spend, a system to allow people to publish their podcasts, low-carb street food meals, and healthier frozen food alternatives. This category also includes a transport system to help people move around cities, an online database to find sub teachers for schools and a food incubator offering shared commercial kitchen space. There is also a business making software to transform data into business opportunities for companies.


The eight finalists in the ‘Best Established Business’ (trading more than 36 months) category feature a sports media platform that empowers sports fans to become paid journalists, software that helps in the fight against climate change and a handcrafted kitchen and furniture manufacturer. Also included are an app that helps people with Parkinson’s disease take control of their illness, a hand-held blood test that helps vets detect infections in horses, a jewellery maker and goldsmith, a specialist paint company and a commercial bakery that creates custom made cakes.Ministers Breen_Mary_Mitchell_OConno

The other members of the judging panel, alongside Paddy Flynn of Google, are Eugene Forde, Department of Jobs, Orla Martin, Head of Enterprise, LEO Offaly; Niall O’Donnellan, Enterprise Ireland; Brian Crowley, CEO of TTM Healthcare and Sarah Doyle, CEO of Kinesense. The contestants will be marked under criteria such as innovation, market opportunity, ability to deliver key commercial milestones, economic impact, and quality of application and business plan.

The IBYE National Final takes place this Sunday, 5th March, which is the first day of Local Enterprise Week, which runs until 10th March. Co-ordinated by the 31 LEOs, Local Enterprise Week will showcase the range of LEO supports available to small and micro businesses by hosting over 380 events nationwide. 

IBYE: Facts & FiguresMinisters Breen_Mitchell OConnor and group


–  A €2 million investment fund with targeted business development supports.

 –  3 categories: Best Business Idea, Best Business Start-Up, and Best Established Business.

 –  Co-ordinated by all 31 Local Enterprise Offices across the entire Local Authority Network.

 –  A record number of entries with 1,842 competitors, coming from every county in Ireland.

 –  400+ places at Business Bootcamps.

 –  180 local winners and runners-up, sharing investments of between €3,000 and €15,000 each.

 –  8 Regional Finals.

 –  Investment fund of €100,000 for national winners and runners-up.