IBYE 2019

Local Enterprise Office announces South Dublin’s Best Young Entrepreneurs and €50,000 investment fund winners

Young entrepreneurs from Tallaght and Rathcoole win places at Regional Finals

South Dublin’s “Best Young Entrepreneurs” for 2019 and €50,000 investment fund winners were announced at an awards ceremony hosted by Local Enterprise Office South Dublin this week.

As part of a nationwide search launched by Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Pat Breen to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs (IBYE) for 2019, the six winners and runners-up were chosen from 15 local finalists and will now share a €50,000 investment fund.

IBYE, now in its fifth year, is a nationwide youth enterprise initiative to help 18-to-35 year olds with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business. In 2019, 1,644 young entrepreneurs entered IBYE, which is an initiative of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and supported by Enterprise Ireland and local authorities.

Among the special guests at the awards ceremony were Mayor Mark Ward, Chief Executive Daniel McLoughlin and  Director of Economic, Enterprise and Tourism Development Frank Nevin.

The ‘Best New Idea’ category, with a €7,000 investment fund, was won by Jessica Conlon aged 27, founder of Twigs in Tallaght  who are looking to provide an after-school care for children with additional needs /ASD in a suitable environment meeting their social, sensory and emotional needs.. The runner-up award and €3,000 investment fund went to  Oisin Lennon aged 29 of Danu Analytics in Tallaght.

The winner of the ‘Best Start-Up Business’ category and the €15,000 investment fund was John Maguire aged 32, founder of Sensation Audio in Tallaght. Sensation Audio is a disruptive audio technology company, changing the way we hear and experience audio content through personalisation.

The runner-up in this category, collecting a €5,000 investment fund, was Holly Kennedy aged 34  of Happy Magazine in Lucan. 

Meanwhile, the title of ‘Best Established Business’, with an investment fund of €15,000, went to Gary Byrne aged 34 founder of Custom Wood Design which specialise in wood branding & manufacturing for some of the biggest brands in the world.

The runner-up in this category, scooping a €5,000 investment fund, was Ellen Weber of Glitz N Pieces in Rathfarnham 

Jessica Conlon was also awarded the title of ‘Best Young Entrepreneur’ for South Dublin.

In the lead-up to the county final, each finalist received targeted business supports through Local Enterprise Office South Dublin. They attended an intensive Business Boot Camp, receiving mentoring and support on their business plans, pitch training as well as getting the opportunity to connect with other young entrepreneurs from Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. 

Tom Rooney, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office South Dublin said: “As our winners clearly demonstrate, youth entrepreneurship is thriving here in South Dublin IBYE is about discovering local potential and nurturing that talent through financial supports, mentoring, training and networking opportunities. In 2019, Local Enterprise Office South Dublin supported 71 young entrepreneurs through the IBYE competition.We want to build on that success by supportting South Dublin’s young entrepreneurs today and into the future.”

The county winners from South Dublin will now progress to the regional finals, which take place on 12th June.  In all, 24 national finalists will be selected at regional finals across the country to compete for the overall title of “Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.”

At the IBYE national final on Sunday 15th September, which takes place at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin, a €100,000 investment fund will be awarded to winners.

Further details on the competition and supports available to young entrepreneurs are available through www.localenterprise.ie and www.ibye.ie

IBYE 2019 Poster

Your Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is searching for Ireland’s best young entrepreneurs of 2019!

If you are aged between 18 and 35 and either have a business idea or have already started a business, enter #IBYE today for your chance to win a share of the €50,000 county investment fund. In addition to the investment fund, there are also hundreds of places to be won at Business Bootcamps around the country.

APPLY NOW Entering is simple and free at www.IBYE.ie before Friday 15th March 2019. Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities (localenterprise.ie) are the first stop shop for anyone seeking information and support around starting or growing a business in Ireland.


Local Winner: €7,000 investment

Local Runner-Up: €3,000 investment

BEST START-UP BUSINESS (Trading Up to 18 Months)

Local Winner: €15,000 investment

Local Runner-Up: €5,000 investment

BEST ESTABLISHED BUSINESS (Trading over 18 Months)

Local Winner: €15,000 investment

Local Runner-Up: €5,000 investment

Feature Interview with Past Participant Sarah Kiely – Sadie’s Kitchen

ibye sk

This week we talked to Sarah Kiely of Sadie’s Kitchen from South Dublin who took part in the competition in 2018. We caught up with Sarah to hear all about their experience of taking part in the competition.

Tell us about your business: Sadie's Kitchen is an award-winning health food company specialising in nutritious bone broths that can be used as a cooking liquid or enjoyed as a comforting hot drink. All our broths are 100% natural, free from added salt, gluten, dairy and sugar and are a natural source of collagen too. 

Where did you hear about the IBYE competition? Through my Local Enterprise Office in South Dublin.

Why did you enter the competition? To challenge myself and improve my business through the bootcamp process and also to raise funding for scale. There's great PR to be gained from IBYE and it puts you and your business on the map on a national level to potential investors and new customers alike. 

What surprised you most about the competition? I was surprised by the level of support from fellow entrepreneurs, I made some great friends through IBYE and you really do bond at the bootcamp and help one another to grow. I was also taken aback at how helpful the pitching process was, I have done a lot in my time but I found the mentoring excellent and great at pushing you out of your comfort zone.

How did you and your business benefit from being involved in IBYE? The business benefitted through the ongoing mentoring and support the competition had to offer, this made me a better business owner and promoter. The funding was a great resource to help us scale and buffer the strain start ups have on their cash flow during that growth stage.

Why do you think a young entrepreneur should enter this competition? I think it makes you a better business owner. You fine your idea, business or plans for scale based on the in-depth training and judging process. It forces you to expose your business and have it analysed by some of the top entrepreneurs in the country. The leanings are invaluable as are the connections you'll make.

And finally, what piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking of entering this competition? Get the application in and don't delay in doing so. Go into bootcamp with an open mind and willingness to engage with everyone and share experiences and ideas. Use that time to perfect your pitch and ultimately go on to win your category. The competition is ferocious but a lot of fun too. 

Closing date for applications is Friday 15th March. Enter now on www.ibye.ie