More than 1,800 young entrepreneurs across the country have entered the ‘IBYE’ competition with a total investment fund of €2 million.
The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) have announced that a record 1,842 young entrepreneurs have submitted entries to this year’s Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, a 32% increase on last year.
IBYE is run by the 31 LEOs nationwide and has a total investment fund of €2 million. Young entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35 were invited to enter by the 14th October closing date and IBYE is supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
Through the course of the competition, IBYE applicants benefit from business advice, mentoring, boot camps, and have the chance to compete for significant investment funding to support the development of their business or idea. Each individual LEO has an investment fund of up to €50,000 to award to young entrepreneurs in their area across three categories – Best Business Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business. Winners at county level progress to regional finals, ahead of the national IBYE final in March next year.
This is the third year of IBYE and the number of entries has grown year-on-year. The significant rise in entries has been welcomed by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D:
“Young entrepreneurs are the employers of the future. I am delighted to see that more young entrepreneurs than ever before have entered the IBYE competition this year. Through IBYE, I want to ensure that their innovation, vision and drive, results in successful businesses that will create new jobs in the economy, and in all regions. IBYE provides a fantastic opportunity for aspiring and established young entrepreneurs to compete for investment funding, avail of expert business advice and form invaluable peer networks in enterprise boot camps where experience and knowledge can be shared”.
“The Local Enterprise Offices around the country are an excellent resource for anyone thinking of starting or growing their business. I look forward to meeting these young entrepreneurs during the competition.” she added.
Christine Charlton of the Local Enterprise Offices said: “The level of entries to IBYE this year is the highest on record and reflects the potential that exists amongst younger age groups that needs to be nurtured. Our focus now is to select the young entrepreneur entrants who will go forward to the regional boot camps. Everyone who participates in the IBYE boot camps will have access to expert business guidance and mentors who will help them face and overcome challenges in developing their business.”
The first of the IBYE 2016 boot camps started in Waterford and Louth at the weekend and the IBYE county finals start in November, followed by eight regional finals. Three category winners will be selected from each regional final to go forward to March’s national IBYE final, when Ireland’s newest best young entrepreneur will be named.
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.