A 26-year-old physiotherapist from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown who developed an app that is transforming the lives of thousands of people with Parkinson’s disease all over the world has been named as Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE).
Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical wins a €45,000 investment fund through the Local Enterprise Offices after scooping the coveted title at the IBYE national final.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., made the announcement in front of 360 guests at the IBYE national final held at Google’s European Headquarters today, Sunday 5thMarch, 2017.
The competition, which is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland and run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices, attracted entries from over 1,800 18-to-35-year-olds, showcasing some of the country’s best and brightest business talent. In addition to becoming Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, Ciara won the ‘Best Established Business’ category.
Ciara, who is passionate about improving healthcare through technology for people with neurological conditions, is providing individually tailored physiotherapy, speech and language and occupational therapy exercises through mobile phones in 40 countries.
A delighted Ciara said that her aim is to continue supporting more and more people with Parkinson’s around the world, as an estimated 10 million people currently live with the disease. She is also developing digital treatments for other neurological conditions such as MS, Stroke, Dyspraxia and Cerebral Palsy. She said: “These success stories keep all of the team at Beats Medical motivated every day to do more for the people that use our service.”
Meanwhile Alvan Hunt (age 26) of Hexafly in Meath won the ‘Best Business Idea’ category while the winner of the ‘Best Start Up Business’ category is Samuel Dennigan (age 31), of Strong Roots in Dublin City.
Hexafly uses cutting-edge biotechnology to find smart ways to feed the planet using the by-products of insects, while Strong Roots is providing new healthy alternatives in the frozen food sector.
The ‘Best Promotion of Business On-Line’ Google award went to Richard Barrett (age 27) of Pundit Arena in South Cork.
The three category runners-up were Damien Mason (age 35) of Flexibod in Clare in the ‘Best Business Idea’ category, Roisin Hogan (age 35) of HIRO by Roisin in Louth in the ‘Best Start-Up Business’ category and Heinrich Anhold (age 35) of StableLab in Sligo in the ‘Best Established Business’ category.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., said: “I want to congratulate and say a hearty 'well done' to Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown on winning this year's IBYE title. It is a superb achievement. That said, all of our finalists here today are winners, having taken their ideas and concepts through a tough and rigorous process to make them market ready. Seeing their projects come to fruition is enormously gratifying and is testament to the huge effort they have invested. Today's young entrepreneurs are tomorrow's employers and IBYE, which was set up under the Government's Action Plan for Jobs, has proven to be a very effective way of fostering entrepreneurship in our young people. I want to pay tribute to my own Department, Enterprise Ireland and to the LEOs who have done a great job again this year in supporting this initiative."
Minister for Employment and Small Business, Mr. Pat Breen T.D., said: “Congratulations to all of today’s winners and I wish you all every success going forward in developing your businesses. Your success is critical to the future of our economy and job creation prospects. I believe that all finalists here today, and indeed every one of the IBYE participants throughout all the stages of the competition will have taken something very positive away from your experiences over the last few months. IBYE is not just a competition, it is a training ground to guide and mentor young entrepreneurs through all the stages of developing and sustaining a business.”
The 31 Local Enterprise Offices were represented at the ceremony by Sheelagh Daly who said: “A huge congratulations to today’s winners and all the finalists and participants who have been on this inspiring IBYE journey, including the 400 young entrepreneurs who took part in Business Bootcamps around the country. My colleagues in Local Enterprise Offices right across Ireland have been incredibly impressed with the quality of entrants in this year’s IBYE competition, and their commitment, drive and passion for enterprise. Through IBYE and other targeted enterprise initiatives, we want to encourage many more young entrepreneurs to avail of specialist training, mentoring and to access to financial assistance through Local Enterprise Offices in every local authority area.”
Photo credit: Mark Stedman, Stedman Photography.
Today’s judging panel was chaired by Paddy Flynn, Director of Trust and Safety with Google. The other members of the judging panel were Eugene Forde, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Orla Martin, Head of Enterprise, LEO Offaly, Niall O’ Donnellan, Enterprise Ireland, Brian Crowley, CEO, TTM Healthcare and Sarah Doyle, CEO, Kinesense. Broadcaster Claire Byrne acted as MC.
Already through the competition, 180 entrants have won investments of between €3,000 and €15,000 each from their local LEO. Today’s winners and runners-up will share €100,000 in investment funding.
The IBYE national final takes place on the opening day of Local Enterprise Week, which runs nationwide through Local Enterprise Offices until March 10th. Information on the supports available to entrepreneurs through the Local Enterprise Offices is available through www.ibye.ie and www.localenterprise.ie.
Photo credit: Mark Stedman, Stedman Photography.