Young entrepreneurs with a business that's at least two years old are being encouraged by the Local Enterprise Offices to enter this year's 'Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur' competition (#IBYE). The Action Plan for Jobs initiative is aimed at those aged between 18 and 30 and each Local Enterprise Office has an investment fund of €20,000 each, to present to a "best established" business owner in their own regions.
Supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland, the competition is designed to seek out and support entrepreneurial talent across the country.
A total investment fund of €50,000 is on offer through every Local Enterprise Office, €20,000 of which, will go to the 'Best Established Business' winner. Another €20,000 investment fund is on offer for the 'Best Start-Up' winner locally, with €10,000 on offer to the 'Best New Idea' winner.
Last year's 'best established' winners and finalists included Dean Gammell of 'The Group System' in Co. Westmeath. Gammell now employs 32 people in Kinnegad and used his investment prize fund to expand his group booking software business into the UK.
In the same category, Shane Byrne from the mobile app development company, 'Showoff,' in County Wicklow, recently signed an international contract and has doubled his workforce to fourteen since entering the competition in 2014.
Encouraging those aged between 18 and 30 to apply for this year's competition, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D., said: "Over 1,000 people entered IBYE last year, with more than 400 young entrepreneurs benefitting from business bootcamps, mentoring or investment prizes. Focussing on job creation, the competition is open to everyone with their own business or innovative ideas for a new one. An investment fund of €50,000 is now available in every one of the 31 Local Enterprise Offices, to help young entrepreneurs set-up and grow their businesses, accelerating job-creation in every region of the country."
Other 'Best Established Business' finalists from the 2014 competition included Myles Murray of PMD Solutions in South Cork (medical devices and technologies), Rhona Togher from Restored Hearing in Sligo (solutions for chronic tinnitus), Pat Divilly from Pat Divilly Fitness in Galway (online training), Jamie White from Youth Nation in Dublin City (young communications agency), Tom Ryan from Adsmart in Tipperary (marketing services) and fashion designer, Niamh O' Neill from Louth.
Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices explains: "One of the three categories this year is called 'Best Established Business' and that's open to anyone aged 30 or under, who set up their own business more than two years ago. Through IBYE, they can grow and develop their businesses further, gaining investment, skills and connections that can open up new markets and opportunities. To start accessing the supports now on offer, we're encouraging young entrepreneurs to get in touch with their nearest Local Enterprise Office and to visit www.ibye.ie ."
The closing date across all three categories for Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur competition is Friday, 21st August. Entry is free on-line and full details are available through www.ibye.ie , or by searching #IBYE on social media.