South Cork Health Tech Entrepreneur Named ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’


24-year-old James Foody of Ayda in South Cork has been named as Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, winning a €50,000 investment fund for his business through Local Enterprise Office South Cork.

The Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton T.D. made the announcement in front of 360 guests at the IBYE national final, held at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin on Sunday, December 6th.

Foody, whose business is based in Glanmire and San Francisco, co-founded Ayda, a Female Health Tech company in 2015 after finishing his Masters in Biomedical Engineering Research. The company’s mobile phone app is being designed to help women track fertility levels and a wearable fertility tracker solution is also being developed, for launch mid-2016.

The Health Tech entrepreneur, who is supported by Local Enterprise Office South Cork, also took the ‘Best Start Up’ award at the competition, which attracted 1,400 competitors when it was launched by An Taoiseach and Minister Bruton earlier this year.

Supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland, the nationwide competition is organised through the Local Enterprise Offices and forms part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2015 with an overall investment fund of €2 million awarded to county winners and national winners.

Speaking at the National Final, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr. Richard Bruton T.D said:  “On behalf of the Government, I’d like to congratulate James Foody from Ayda on being named as Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur for 2015. But more importantly, I’d like to congratulate the 1,400 young people who entered this competition through the Local Enterprise Offices and those that made it through to the local, regional or national finals. I’ve been personally inspired by the energy, commitment and ambition of these young business-people. By promoting entrepreneurship as a career choice, we can ensure that we start more businesses and ultimately create more jobs. Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-up businesses in their first five years. We are relying on these young entrepreneurs to start-up the businesses that will create the jobs of tomorrow, and the level of ambition and innovation on show in this competition provides great hope for the future. I am determined to ensure that Government supports these amazing young entrepreneurs in every way possible on their journey.”

Sean O’Sullivan, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office South Cork congratulated James Foody on his win, saying: “We are very proud of James who, with his co-founder Aoife Crowley, set up Ayda, which in only a short period has seen significant growth and development.  It is a big win for James and his team, but also for South Cork and we’re delighted to have been there from the early stages. We’d encourage anyone who has been inspired by James’s story to access the wide range of enterprise supports available from their Local Enterprise Office.”

Minister Bruton also announced two other category winners at this year’s awards: the ‘Best New Idea’ award and €20,000 investment prize went to Blaine Doyle (age 24) of GlowDX in Kilkenny and the ‘Best Established Business’ award and €30,000 investment prize went to James Keogh (age 29) from Rathwood in Wicklow.

GlowDx in the ‘Best Business Idea’ category is a diagnostics company which is setting out to diagnose neglected tropical diseases more cheaply in developing countries. Winning the ‘Best Established Business’ award, Rathwood is renowned for its year-round themed events and the retail entertainment company welcomes over 250,000 visitors every year and employs nearly 200 people.

The Google award for ‘Best Online Promotion of Business’ went to Isolde Johnson of The Cool Bean Company in Dublin City, which develops a range of healthy meals under the Cool Beans consumer brand. Each of the winners will now be offered a place at the Google ‘Adopt a Startup’ programme in 2016.

In all, 24 finalists from 17 counties competed for the overall title and 9 of them made a live pitch to the judging panel at today’s final round at the Foundry in Google. This year’s judging panel included Sarah Doyle of Kinesense, Brian Crowley of the TTM Group, Colin Goulding of Google, Christine Charlton of the Local Enterprise Offices and Tom Hayes of Enterprise Ireland.

Details for all the finalists are available at and by searching #ibye on social media and YouTube.  The National Final for the IBYE competition was supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the network of Local Enterprise Offices, Enterprise Ireland and Google.