Friday, November 20th 2015
Wicklow’s James Keogh among 24 finalists unveiled ahead of December’s National Final to crown Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur
1,400 young Irish entrepreneurs, aged between 18 and 30, take part in €2 million Investment Fund Competition through Local Enterprise Offices.
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D. and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. met local entrepreneur and finalist James Keogh from Rathwood in County Wicklow , ahead of “Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur” national final on Sunday, December 6th.
1,400 young Irish entrepreneurs, all aged between 18 and 30, participated in the 2015 ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition, which is being run by the Local Enterprise Offices in the Local Authority Network. 24 finalists from 17 counties have now made it to the December national final at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin.
For this year’s competition, young Irish people who have emigrated in recent years were encouraged to apply, with a view to setting up their businesses in Ireland. Applications were received from forty young Irish entrepreneurs, based in countries such as the USA, UK, Italy, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. Two of this year’s international applicants have made it through to December’s national final.
At the IBYE county final earlier this year, the Local Enterprise Office Wicklow also presented investment prizes to two other local young entrepreneurs. They were: Ross Lawless, CALT Dynamics and Michael Carney, Raindrop Drinks.
Launched in May this year by An Taoiseach and Minister Bruton and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the nationwide competition forms part of the Action Plan for Jobs, with a total €2million fund available. Announcing the names of all 24 national finalists and meeting them ahead of their business bootcamp in Google, An Taoiseach said:
“One of the best innovations arising from the Action Plan for Jobs, and in recognition that we need to support young Irish entrepreneurship, is the development of the Best Young Entrepreneur competition organised by the Local Enterprise Offices. It is inspirational to see these young business leaders develop new ideas and create new jobs. This is just one example of how we are going to keep up the the momentum of 1,000 new jobs a week in order to keep the recovery going. "I am particularly delighted that those young Irish people who have left our shores in recent years were encouraged to apply, with a view to setting up their businesses in Ireland. Next year we expect more Irish people to return home than leave and it will be the hard work of these young entrepreneurs which will help create the jobs to bring them home. Ireland's young entrepreneurs are securing our recovery.”
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: “Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups – that is why we have placed at the very heart of the Action Plan for Jobs our drive to encourage more people to start up new businesses. One key aspect of this is the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition – in its second year running, this is a great initiative to celebrate our amazing young business-people and provide real tangible support to them as they expand their businesses and ultimately create 1, 2, 10, or 50 extra jobs.
“IBYE is a great example of what we are trying achieve through the Action Plan for Jobs. On its own it will not solve our jobs crisis. However by placing it into the Plan, subject to reporting mechanisms and oversight from the Taoiseach, we can be sure it will be implemented. And taken together with thousands of other actions which we have implemented through the Plan over recent years, it will help rebuild an economy based on real enterprises, innovation and exports – and create the jobs we need”.
An Taoiseach and Minister Bruton were joined at the meeting by Sheelagh Daly, Head of Enterprise LEO Wicklow and representatives from Enterprise Ireland.
Highlighting the year-round supports on offer to Ireland’s young entrepreneurs locally, Sheelagh Daly said: “As the first stop shop for new start-ups or small businesses looking to grow and expand, the doors of the Local Enterprise Offices in every Local Authority area are always open for young entrepreneurs. As well as one-to-one mentoring support, network meetings and specialised training, the Local Enterprise Offices can also offer access to grants and loan facilities, to help get new businesses up and running and to help them expand in the future.”
At the business bootcamp in Google, the IBYE finalists received training from Catherine Moonan on making effective pitches to prepare them when facing the judging panel later this month. They also received advice and encouragement from experts in the enterprise sector, such as Niamh Bushnell, Dublin Commissioner for Start-Ups, Paddy Flynn, Director of Product Quality Operations with Google Ireland and Gary Leyden of the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC).
Further updates about ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ and YouTube videos for each of the national finalists are available through www.ibye.ie or by searching #ibye on social media. The official IBYE channel on YouTube is https://www.youtube.com/user/IBYEire.