Great numbers for IBYE entrepreneurs

IBYE entrepreneurs are making a big impact across Ireland

A report released this week by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) has shown the significant impact that business people who have been through the LEO run Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) programme are making. 

• IBYE entrepreneurs have current annual sales of €124million through their company

• These businesses now employ 2,217 people

• 4,259 entrepreneurs applied for IBYE with 1,350 receiving mentoring / business boot camps

• 348 of the applicants received funding between €3,000 and €50,000

• The total investment by Local Enterprise Offices over the 3 years was €5millon

• For 64% of respondents the UK is their main export market, followed by Europe at 59%

• The two main sectors for IBYE funding recipients were Food and Software

Ahead of the National Final on the 22nd April, the research showed that the 348 entrepreneurs funded by IBYE to date are generating annual sales of €124million and employing over 2,200 people.

Tom Banville, Head of Enterprise for Local Enterprise Office Wexford, said; “The IBYE programme is making a significant impact on creating the next generation of entrepreneurs all over the country.  In County Wexford we can see the difference it is making, the interest it generates and the enthusiasm of young entrepreneurs who want to generate ideas, build businesses and create jobs.  The programme is giving young entrepreneurs the ability to develop their businesses and working along with their Local Enterprise Office to help bring them to market.”       

Funding for the LEOs and the IBYE competition is provided by the Government of Ireland through the State Agency, Enterprise Ireland.

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is a programme for 18-35 years old run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices across the country. It focuses on three categories; Best Business Idea, Best Business Start-Up and Best Established Business. 

The piece of research, carried out by Set2Grow and commissioned by the State Agency, Enterprise Ireland, has highlighted the impact that Irish entrepreneurs have made in 2014, 2015 and 2016 through the IBYE programme. Between 2014 and 2016, 4,259 young entrepreneurs applied for IBYE, of which 1,350 received business bootcamp training and one-to-one mentoring. 

348 of those entrepreneurs won IBYE investment funding of between €3,000 and €50,000 from their Local Enterprise Office and they now in turn have current annual sales of €124million and employ 2,217 people.  The total investment by Government through the Local Enterprise Offices across the three years in the IBYE programme was €5million.

IBYE Impact Report Infographic

Minister Humphreys, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation said: “I am delighted that Government funding is being put to such an excellent cause through Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. The success of the competition has clearly demonstrated the appetite for young Irish people to start their own business. The facts speak for themselves: including this year’s applicants, over 5,500 18-35year old’s have applied for funding to develop their business ideas. This new research now shows that the €5m we invested in IBYE has supported over 2,200 jobs and €124m in sales. Without a doubt, that’s an excellent return for the investment, and I would like to commend the businesses involved, not to mention the staff behind our network of LEOs, for their strong dedication to the initiative.”

Minister Breen, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection said; “IBYE proves that every region and locality in Ireland has its share of young entrepreneurs. With the encouragement and support of the LEOs, IBYE has shown that young entrepreneurs can start their business locally, bring in extra investment and mentoring and grow strong companies and jobs in every part of the country.”

Sheelagh Daly, Chair of the Network of Local Enterprise Offices, said; “The research highlights the impact a programme like IBYE is making in finding and developing Ireland’s entrepreneurial talent.  The Local Enterprise Office is the first stop for any entrepreneur who is looking to start or grow their business and we have consistently seen very innovative entrepreneurs starting their enterprise journeys through IBYE. 

The research also found that the two main sectors for entrepreneurs through the IBYE programme were Food and Software.  For 64% of respondents, their principle export market is the UK with Europe at 59% and the US at 29%.  The average figure of revenue derived from export sales for those surveyed was 24.7%.

Outside of their investment received from the IBYE programme, 39% responded that their additional funding came from the State with 61% coming from private sources including Venture Capitalists / Angel Funds as well as from friends and family.

When asked about the challenges they faced as entrepreneurs, “financing a new business at the outset” was their biggest challenge followed by “building their team”.  For 2018 they viewed growing sales as the biggest challenge followed by bringing a new product or service to market. 

The IBYE National Final for 2018 is taking place on Sunday, 22nd April in Google HQ, involving 24 finalists across the three competition categories. This year’s national winners will share a further €100,000 investment fund.

Every year there is a €2million investment fund contributed to the IBYE programme by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland and allocated by the Local Enterprise Offices. 

For more information on Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, see or follow the conversation online using #IBYE.