Finalists win a place at Enterprise Boot Camp

Eighteen of Wicklows best and brightest young entrepreneurs honed their business ideas at an intensive three day boot camp in the Parkview Hotel last weekend.

Aged between eighteen and thirty, the finalists were selected by the Local Enterprise Office Wicklow from over 60 entries in the “Irelands Best Young Entrepreneur” competition.

The aim of the IBYE National initiative is to encourage and support a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in Ireland, to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage the establishment and development of new innovative businesses by Ireland’s young entrepreneurs. This is hugely important for job-creation as two thirds of all new jobs are generated by businesses in the first five years of existence – more start-ups and a thriving entrepreneurial culture will lead to more jobs being created. This project is an integral part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through the Local Enterprise Offices.

The first phase for the Wicklow finalists was the business boot camp where they refined their business propositions and developed their enterprise strategy. Additional one to one mentoring will be provided to each finalist over the coming weeks by well known enterprise expert and author, Blaise Brosnan, helping them to perfect their business plans and prepare a winning investment pitch. Speaking at the launch of the Boot Camp, the Head of Local Enterprise, Sheelagh Daly commented on the very high standard of applications received.

“Both the quantity and quality of applications are a great indicator of the real entrepreneurial spirit in County Wicklow. These entrepreneurs are the bedrock for future economic development in the county and we are delighted with this government initiative to target and encourage young people to use their imagination and energy and create winning businesses.”

In six weeks the finalists will have the opportunity to compete for investment of up to €20,000 to develop their business idea when they present to an expert judging panel at the LEO Wicklow County Final. Competitors include existing businesses, new start-ups and new ideas. The exciting young enterprises range across industry sectors including IT, Healthcare, Household Goods, Education, Art & Design, Food products, Retail and Eco products.   The Local Enterprise Office Wicklow will announce the three winning businesses at the LEO Wicklow Awards on the 18th of September.

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(Back row), James Keogh (Rathwood); David Costello (Better Talk); Roman Printsev (Retractable Roofing); Conor McGowan (Watt Spot); Conor Nolan (Watt Spot); Deborah Sudding (The Ultrasound Suite); Maria Demery (Crechecom); Catherine Howard (LEO Wicklow).

Front Row -- Stephen Stratton (Prelude Arts Centre); Oliver Marcus (Eco Logs); Michael Noble (Noble Education); Gary Coyne (;  Sheelagh Daly (Head of Local Enterprise); Blaise Brosnan (enterprise expert and author); Shane Byrne (Showoff); Riva O'Malley (Black Castle Drinks); Edel O'Meara (The Doggie Lodge); Philip Kirwan (Showoff); Ian Kelly (Gracias).

PIC: Joe Keogh © Joe Keogh, Keogh Photography