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Record number of Westmeath entries to this year’s Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur competition

32% rise in IBYE entries nationally welcomed by Minister Mitchell O’ Connor

Local Enterprise Office Westmeath has announced that a record number of participants have entered the ‘IBYE’ competition this year, for a chance to share in a local investment fund of €50,000. The 54 local participants, all aged between 18 and 35, are among the 1,842 entries from around the country competing this year.

The next stage in the €2 million investment fund competition is the business boot camps, which Local Enterprise Office Westmeath is hosting in Mullingar from 11th to 13th November.

Boot camps play a major role in the IBYE competition, as participants benefit from business advice, mentoring and help with perfecting their enterprise pitches. The LEO-run boot camp has modules such as: business strategy and revenue models, performance measures, financial planning and sources of finance, designed to help more young entrepreneurs develop their business or business ideas.

When the boot camps come to an end, the next stage in the competition after judging is the County final, which will be held on 9th December in Áras an Chontae, Mullingar. Local Enterprise Office Westmeath have an investment fund of up to €50,000 to award to six young entrepreneurs in the area across three categories – Best Business Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business. 

Now in its third year, interest in the competition is increasing every year. The total number of entries nationally was 1,842 this year, compared with 1,398 entries last year, which is up by 32%.

The significant rise in entries has been welcomed by Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D: “Young entrepreneurs are the employers of the future. I am delighted to see that more young entrepreneurs than ever before have entered the IBYE competition this year. Through IBYE, I want to ensure that their innovation, vision and drive, results in successful businesses that will create new jobs in the economy, and in all regions. IBYE provides a fantastic opportunity for aspiring and established young entrepreneurs to compete for investment funding, avail of expert business advice and form invaluable peer networks in enterprise boot camps where experience and knowledge can be shared”. 

“The Local Enterprise Offices around the country are an excellent resource for anyone thinking of starting or growing their business.  I look forward to meeting these young entrepreneurs during the competition.” she added.

Christine Charlton, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Westmeath said: “The level of entries to IBYE this year nationally is the highest on record and reflects the potential that exists amongst younger age groups that needs to be nurtured. Our focus now is to select the young entrepreneur entrants who will go forward to the boot camps.  Everyone who participates in the IBYE boot camps will have access to expert business guidance and mentors who will help them face and overcome challenges in developing their business.”


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


For media queries, please contact your Local Enterprise Office.


Notes to Editor:

About IBYE:      www.ibye.ie

Facts and figures: The total number of entries for IBYE 2016 was 1,842 nationally, compared with 1,398 entries for IBYE 2015 (a 32% increase). Source: www.ibye.ie

  • Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is an enterprise initiative run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country and funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. A €2 million investment fund is available through IBYE which supports young entrepreneurs through training, mentoring and direct financial investments.
  • IBYE is open to people between the ages of 18 (at date of application) and 35 (at 31st December 2016) with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business, including: individuals, venture teams, partnerships, existing businesses with a new idea,  or people overseas (including Irish emigrants) who will headquarter in Ireland.
  • Each Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is running a competition in each county aimed at finding winners in each of the three categories as well as an overall county winner. Each LEO will have a total fund of up to €50,000 to invest in six businesses (three category winners and three runners-up) according to criteria including businesses’ investment needs. The three categories are as follows:
  • Best Business Idea(pre-trading) – up to €10,000 investment fund through every LEO (€7,000 for category winner and €3,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)
  • Best Start-Up Business(up to 36 months), with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)
  • Best Established Business(over 36 months) with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)
  • The county winners will then proceed to eight regional finals from which 24 contenders (three from each region – one in each category) will be selected to compete for the national title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. A further €100,000 investment fund will be available to invest in the winners of the three categories at the national final, one of which will also be named with the prestigious title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.