Six of Waterford’s best young entrepreneurs have won a total cash investment of €50,000, as part of the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition.
At a ceremony in The Dooley’s Hotel on Friday the 2nd of December awards were presented to Waterford’s best new idea, best start-up and best established business. The winners and runners up were chosen from 21 young entrepreneurs, shortlisted from almost 60 applicants in the competition which was launched in September by Minister for State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan T.D. as part of a nationwide search to find ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’.
To help prepare for this stage of the competition, the finalists enjoyed a three days of intensive business boot camps as well as a mentoring programme designed to help them develop the skills to take their ideas and businesses from the concept stage to reality, to build a viable business plan and to commercialise their businesses.
An intensive judging process undertaken by some of Waterford’s top business people and staff from enterprise support agencies decided on the winners based on strict criteria including business investment needs, business prospects and the young entrepreneurs’ capabilities.
The Best Idea category was won by Anthony Cronin of Flexiwage, who received €7,000 investment in his company. With Flexiwage, employees can now have the flexibility to determine their own pay to insure they have their money when they need it. Flexiwage can also help employers to improve cash flow as the frequency with which the total pay of an employee leaves the companies account decreases. To read more check out www.flexiwage.com
The title of Best Start Up, and €15,000 investment, went to Dara O’Neill of Dream Boat. DreamBoat specialises in the development and production of films, television programming, online content and music. Dreamboat recently produced the short film ‘Digs for Pennies’ and are looking forward to having Dylan Moran star in their next short movie. Dreamboat are also planning on producing commercial advertising for TV. To see some of what Dreamboat has produced check out www.dreamboat.tv
Kevin Walsh of Aphex received €15,000 investment in the Best Established category. Aphex is an engineering consultancy company, founded in 2012, focused on providing expertise in commissioning & validation to pharmaceutical clients. In addition to their core business. Aphex are developing the second facet of their organisation in conjunction with the TSSG; an innovative software solution for laboratories in the Pharma sphere. To learn more about what Aphex do check out www.aphex.ie
The runners up in each category were:
- Best Idea runner up Conor Coughlan of Black Twist received €3,000 investment. Black Twist is where the art of coffee brewing meets the craft of Irish whiskey distilling
- David Shanley of Atex Verification Services received €5,000 investment as runner up in the Start Up Category. Atex Verification Services is Ireland’s only accredited, independent and impartial Inspection Body providing conformity assessment solutions to industry and service providers operating with Flammable materials and/or in Potentially explosive atmospheres.
- Padraig O’Scanaill of Fund Recs received €5,000 investment as runner up in the Best Established category. Fund Recs offer a software product which is specifically tailored to the needs of fund administrators to automate cash and portfolio reconciliation.
The winners go on to represent Waterford at the regional finals in Dungarvan on January 19th. A total of 24 finalists will then compete at the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur National Finals.
Speaking at the county final, Richie Walsh Local Enterprise Office Waterford Head of Enterprise said “The standard of young entrepreneurs in Waterford has once again astounded me. The goal of the IBYE initiative and our Student Enterprise Awards is to encourage and support a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in the county, to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage the creation and development of new innovative businesses.”
Richie continued “The Local Enterprise Office will now look to further nurture and support all of this year’s finalists over the coming months and years by assisting them to further develop their business models. At Waterford LEO, we are delighted to be associated with the quality of this year’s finalists and we hope they can bring home the gold from next month’s regional finals.”
In 2015, Waterford was one of only two counties to have two representatives (Liam Sexton, Photo2CAD and Eddy Lynch, Suir Sprayers) at the IBYE national competition final.