Seventeen of Wicklow’s best and brightest young entrepreneurs honed their business ideas at an intensive enterprise boot camp in the Glenview Hotel over the weekend. Aged between eighteen and thirty, the finalists were selected by the Local Enterprise Office Wicklow from over 45 entries in the “Irelands Best Young Entrepreneur” (IBYE) competition.
The aim of the IBYE initiative, which is delivered nationally through the Local Enterprise Offices, is 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 2015 and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
The first phase for the Wicklow finalists was the enterprise boot camp where they refined their ideas and developed their business plans. 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 strategies and prepare a winning investment pitch. Speaking at the launch of the Boot Camp Sheelagh Daly, Head of Enterprise, 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.”
At the end of September 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, Retail & Lifestyle, Healthcare, Education, Art & Design, Food & Drink and Engineering. The winners, including Wicklow’s Best Young Entrepreneur, will be announced at the Awards ceremony on the 29th of September.