Taoiseach unveils finalists in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) Competition

24 talented entrepreneurs from all over Ireland go head-to-head to claim title of the country’s “best young entrepreneur” on Sunday, March 5th

Record numbers benefit from IBYE through Local Enterprise Offices, which carries €2 million Investment Fund 

The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D., has unveiled the 24 inspiring finalists from around the country who will battle it out in the National Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition. Also joining the Taoiseach for the unveiling were Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. and Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D. 

A record 1,842 young entrepreneurs, aged between 18 and 35, have taken part in this year’s IBYE. The competition has progressed through county and regional stages where 24 young entrepreneurs have now emerged as national IBYE finalists and will compete for the prestigious title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. The IBYE Final takes place at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin on Sunday, 5th March. 

The Taoiseach met the 24 finalists at Government buildings, before the young entrepreneurs travelled to a pitch training session at Google. He said: “I am overwhelmed and inspired by the entrepreneurial talent that I have encountered here today.  In this fast-moving world, there can be no standing still and we must always stay ahead of the curve in terms of business. It is vital that we nurture our young businesspeople, encourage them, and give them supports as they strive to make an impact and to succeed.” An Taoiseach Sheelagh Daly and Martin Corry

“We must also be mindful that today’s young entrepreneurs are tomorrow’s employers. IBYE, which is run by the Local Enterprise Offices, is one of the best innovations arising from the Action Plan for Jobs. While there are now nearly 190,000 people more in employment than when the Action Plan for Jobs was first launched in 2012, we must not be complacent. A lot of work still needs to be done to ensure a bright future for everyone in this country. All the young people I met today are Ireland’s future.” 

Also speaking at the unveiling of the IBYE finalists, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. commented: “These young entrepreneurs are shining examples of how Ireland can stand out and succeed in a highly competitive environment. Creativity, design, technology and innovation have been to the fore in this year’s IBYE. I want to congratulate the finalists here today and all who have participated in the competition so far and encourage them to keep going and realise their ambition. I also want to assure young entrepreneurs up and down the country that their Local Enterprise Office will be on hand every step of the way. I wish the finalists every success in the National IBYE final on the 5th March.”  

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen, TD, said: “IBYE is one of the most important vehicles we have to help encourage, motivate and kick-start new business in Ireland. The fact that there was a 32 per cent increase in entries in this year’s IBYE competition is a reflection that our young people are eager and hungry to follow their dreams and do it for themselves. Entrepreneurs such as these are a key force in helping to create jobs across every region.” 

Highlighting the benefits of the competition for young entrepreneurs, Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices said: “Over the three years of the IBYE competition so far, more than 1,200 young entrepreneurs have benefitted from taking part in IBYE Business Bootcamps and 360 have won investment funding for new or growing businesses. By taking up the supports on offer through LEOs, we are seeing that even more young entrepreneurs are up-skilling; they are developing and refining their plans and business models and they are using financial assistance to unlock new markets and expand their teams.” 

A key motivator and showcase for Ireland’s young entrepreneurial talent, IBYE is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. The initiative carries a total investment fund of €2 million. Already, 180 young entrepreneurs and business owners have benefitted from their participation in the earlier stages of the competition, receiving investments of between €3,000 and €15,000 each. 

At the National Final, the overall winners and runners-up in the three IBYE categories – Best Business Idea, Best Start-up and Best Established Business will be announced and one of the three national category winners will be crowned ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’.   

This year’s impressive finalists include young innovators with world class-businesses and business ideas including:

·      The world’s first transport system which empowers people to control how they move around cities

·      An app that helps people with Parkinson’s Disease take control of their illness by addressing mobility and fine hand movement issues

·      A ground-breaking blood test that helps vets instantly detect infections in horses and small animals

·      A cloud-based software that allows large organisations fight climate change by tracking their carbon footprint

·      Cutting-edge technology to help find smarter ways to feed the planet

·      A website to help match substitute teachers with post-primary schools An Taoiseach Sheelagh Daly and Martin IBYE

 A winner and runner-up will be selected in each of the three IBYE categories, and along with the overall winner, will share the €100,000 national final investment fund at the awards ceremony on Sunday, March 5th.  

Competition updates and YouTube videos for each of the national finalists are available through www.ibye.ie or by searching #IBYE on social media.  

The IBYE National Final takes place on the first day of Local Enterprise Week, which runs from March 5th to 10th, showcasing the range of enterprise supports available to small and micro businesses through every Local Enterprise Office. 

The 24 National Finalists: Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (www.ibye.ie)

Best Business Idea CategoryLEO Cork North and West: Fiona Edwards Murphy of ApisProtect (age 25)

A ground-breaking IoT (Internet of Things) system that alerts beekeepers about diseases and pest threatening bee colonies all over the world. apisprotect.com



LEO Meath: Alvan Hunt of Hexafly (age 26)


Cutting-edge biotechnology, finding smart ways to feed the planet by converting by-products from insects. hexafly.co



LEO Clare: Damien Mason of FlexiBod (age 35)

A special chair which reduces muscle tension and increases mobility after just 20 minutes of sitting. flexibod.com

LEO Dublin City: Brian Henderson of Baon Diagnostics (age 26)

Rapid tests to help GPs diagnose infectious diseases, reducing the use of antibiotics by accurately differentiating between viral and bacterial infections. baondiagnostics.com



LEODonegal: Gillian Doyle of Cerebreon Technologies (age 34)


Software that automates many of the paper-heavy and time-consuming processes that exist in the insolvency industry. cerebreon.com



LEORoscommon: Desmond Dolan of MistCalls (age 27)


An innovative mobile call manager that saves business people time and money by adding context to missed calls, and offering a number of organisational features. mistcallsapp.com



LEO Wicklow: Cathal O’Sullivan of GameX (age 24)


A powerful online tool that recommends the perfect game for “gamers” by analysing their previous playing history and stats across all devices. gamex.io


LEOKildare: Jenny Reynolds of Topper Technology (age 33)


An app providing SMEs with a simple payment processing system which will help overcome their biggest problem - getting paid. topper.ie



Best Start-Up Business Category


LEOKerry: Derek Counihan of Harpoon (age 33)


A mobile app allowing regional, local and hyper-local media to compete against national players in the battle for global digital advertising spend. harpoonconnect.com



LEOSouth Cork: Mark Moriarty of Awesound (age 27)


A unique system that lets anyone publish their podcasts or audiobooks via existing apps through targeted advertising or by selling directly to listeners. awesound.com



LEOLouth: Roisin Hogan of HIRO by Roisin (age 35)


Serving up delicious, low-carb and low-calorie Japanese and Asian inspired street food, unlike anything else in the supermarket. hirobyroisin.com



LEODublin City: Samuel Dennigan of Strong Roots (age 31)


Healthy, premium, and delicious alternatives that are revolutionising the frozen food sector. strongroots.ie



LEOLongford: Brian O’Rourke of CitySwifter (age 26)


The first transport system in the world which empowers people to control how they move around cities by allowing them match journey requests online with other travelers. cityswifter.com



LEORoscommon: Kyle McLoughlin of Posude (age 28)


An online database for post-primary school principals to search for teachers to fill substitute classroom positions. subteacher.ie



LEO Wicklow: Shane Bonner of Newmarket Kitchen (age 34)


A food incubator which provides shared commercial kitchen space and business supports for emerging Irish food businesses. newmarketkitchen.com



LEO Westmeath: James Sherlock of Smart Business Analytics (age 34)


Software to analyse and transform data into business opportunities for companies. smartba.ie



Best Established Business Category


LEO South Cork: Richard Barrett of Pundit Arena (age 27)


A sports media platform that empowers sports fans to become paid journalists through a unique revenue sharing model known as the Hit List.



LEO Limerick: Adrian Fleming of Accuvio (age 33)


A cloud-based software that allows large organisations help in the fight against climate change by tracking their carbon footprint. Accuvio.com



LEO Meath: Barry Goulding of BSG Design (age 33)


Manufactures and installs exquisite handcrafted bespoke kitchens, joinery and furniture for both the domestic and commercial markets. bsgdesign.ie



LEO Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown: Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical (age 26)


An app that helps people with Parkinson’s Disease take control of their illness by addressing mobility, speech and fine hand movement issues.



LEO Sligo: Heinrich Anhold of StableLab (age 35)


A revolutionary, hand-held blood test that helps vets detect infections in horses in minutes, even before physical symptoms are apparent. stablelab.com



LEO Mayo: Nigel O’Reilly of Nigel O’Reilly Goldsmith (age 35)


Pushing the boundaries of design by creating unique, hand-crafted jewellery from gold and other raw materials. nigeloreilly.com



LEO Carlow: Kate Gaynor of Advanced Coatings (age 33)


A specialist paint company bringing high performance Scandinavian paints into the Irish market, for use by agricultural and industrial machinery manufacturers. Advancedcoatings.ie




LEO Laois: Kelly Ging of Kelly Lou Cakes (age 28)


A commercial bakery that creates custom-made cakes, cupcakes and other sweet treats for consumers and corporate clients, using the best quality ingredients with no preservatives. kellylou.com