In the lead up to the Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE), 24 finalists - the cream of Ireland’s entrepreneurial talent - were guests of An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D., today at Government Buildings in Dublin. 


The finalists had the opportunity to discuss their businesses and ideas with An Taoiseach and Minister Humphreys ahead of the IBYE Final which will take place on 22nd April.  The IBYE programme is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) with the support of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.

 IBYE Finalists 2018

IBYE Finalists 2018

The 24 entrepreneurs also attended a training day at Google HQ in Dublin where they were given extensive pitch training and they had the chance to meet their fellow finalists for the first time.


An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, T.D., said: “The Government is committed to supporting and fostering the ambition of our new and aspiring entrepreneurs, and helping them to compete on a global scale.  The IBYE programme is the first step on that road for many businesses and the range of innovative projects put forward by this year's finalists illustrates the wealth of talent and creativity in this country.  The competition is really worthwhile for all involved; last year 180 young entrepreneurs secured funding for their businesses through the IBYE process, giving them the chance to grow their ideas and continue on their path.  I would like to congratulate each of the 24 finalists for making it this far.  This is not only a great achievement for each of them individually, but the quality of their ideas assures me that the future of Irish entrepreneurship is in safe hands.”

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, T.D., said: “The IBYE programme is a vital stepping stone for the country’s best young business minds.  Over the past 4 years it has attracted over 5,700 applicants, of whom many may never have even dreamed of starting a business.  While many have gone on to receive funding, for others it’s simply the process that has been the most rewarding for them.  The opportunity to network with their peers and to receive mentoring and intensive enterprise bootcamp training that help them to grow their ideas and develop their businesses has helped many companies get their feet off the ground.  For our 24 finalists this as the opportunity to enjoy the IBYE process and absorb everything from this experience and I wish them all the best for the final and in their careers.”


Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D. added: “Since its inception, the IBYE programme has been hugely successful in helping to encourage and support business ideas from Ireland’s young entrepreneurs.  The high levels of participation in the programme reflect the very strong entrepreneurial spirit there is in this country and this is very encouraging for the future. I would like to congratulate all 24 finalists and hope they enjoy their day.  Regardless of the outcome, I know they will benefit from their IBYE experience and that it will encourage them to apply the principles of entrepreneurship to everything they do from now on.  I wish them all the best for their future careers.”


Sheelagh Daly, Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices, said; “The IBYE programme offers a snapshot of what Local Enterprise Offices provide in 31 locations every day across the country.  We get the opportunity to work with entrepreneurs every day who are dreaming of setting up and scaling their businesses.  To see these 24 finalists is a testament to the hard work of the LEO Network who have helped produce this calibre of entrepreneur for the 2018 IBYE Final.  The 24 finalists come from 19 Local Enterprise Offices so it’s great to see that the entrepreneurial spirit is wide spread across the country.  I have no doubt that each of these Finalists will go from strength to strength following their participation in this year’s programme.”


Martin Corry, Enterprise Ireland, said “Entrepreneurs with global ambition feature strongly amongst this year’s IBYE finalists who see their ideas translating to a world market and not just simply solutions for the Irish market. Several of the finalists are already in the process of establishing their presence overseas this year, while others already have an international office.  This next generation of Irish entrepreneur is a breath of fresh air and we want to ensure that, during the IBYE process and beyond, they have the supports they need to continue to scale their companies in export markets and further enhance Ireland’s reputation as a hub of entrepreneurial talent.”  


The 24 IBYE Finalists for 2018 will be competing for a €100,000 fund across the three categories.  The winner of the Best Business Idea will receive a €15,000 investment with the runner up securing a €5,000 investment.  The Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business winners will receive a €25,000 investment each with the runners up in those categories receiving a €5,000 investment, while the 2018 Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur selected from the three category winners will receive an additional €20,000 investment. 


This year’s IBYE finalists show a huge diversity of ideas, which include a self learning anti-fraud software solution, an app that solves the issue of secure transactions with strangers when selling online, a peer to peer car rental platform, a solution to the compilation, visualisation and relay of IoT (Internet of Things) data, a company guaranteeing 90-minute deliveries, a former Connacht rugby player revolutionising the future of gyms, a virtual power plant and a John Rocha protege bringing catwalk style to Irish cyclists.  

The winners of the 2017 Irish Best Young Entrepreneur Awards were Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical who won the Best Established Business and the overall IBYE Award for 2017.  Samuel Dennigan of Strong Roots in Dublin was the Best Start Up Business winner, while Alvan Hunt of Hexafly in Meath won the Best Business Idea for 2017.

For further information on this year’s Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Awards log on to www.IBYE.ie