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Search for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is now underway

Published: 16th August 2016

€2 million investment fund to support young entrepreneurs, aged between 18 and 35

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’ Connor has launched the latest search to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE). With a €2 million investment fund available, the enterprise initiative from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country, supports young entrepreneurs through training, mentoring and direct financial investments.

Young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 are now being encouraged to apply, before the closing date of Friday, October 14th 2016.

Announcing the start of this year’s programme, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’ Connor T.D. said: “Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition offers a very significant stepping stone into the world of running your own business for young people aged 35 or under. Since the first running of the IBYE competition in 2014, over 180 young entrepreneurs have received investments of up to €70,000 to turn their business ideas into a reality or to develop their existing business into a better one. It's not just the scale of the investment fund on offer that makes IBYE such an important competition. To date over 1,000 young IBYE entrants have received intensive enterprise bootcamp training from their LEO to help them establish and develop their entrepreneurship careers. The level and depth of the business mentoring, training and advice available during the LEO bootcamps has proven to be extremely effective in helping these young ambitious business people to cope with all aspects of running a business, especially the preparation of focused business plans. Such plans are an essential tool for making a success of any business. I would encourage all young entrepreneurs, between the ages of 18 and 35 to talk to their Local Enterprise Office about the IBYE programme and discuss their business ideas.”

The initiative is co-ordinated by all 31 Local Enterprise Offices and begins with a nationwide competition across three categories at county level: Best Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business. A total of around 450 applicants, across every Local Authority area, will be invited to regional ‘Entrepreneur Bootcamps’ in November, to help them develop their business and new venture ideas.
Speaking about Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D., said: "Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) initiative offers a very significant stepping stone into the world of running your own business for young people aged 18 to 35. It's not just the scale of the investment fund on offer that makes IBYE so important, IBYE entrants can go on to receive intensive enterprise boot camp training from their LEO under the programme, to help them establish and develop their entrepreneurship careers. The level and depth of the business mentoring, training and advice available during the LEO bootcamps has proven to be extremely effective in helping young ambitious business people to cope with all aspects of running a business, especially the preparation of focused business plans. Such plans are an essential tool for making a success of any business. IBYE has proven to be a great success in all the regions and I would encourage young people with a business idea or currently running a business to apply for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur”.

With an available IBYE investment fund of €50,000 each, every Local Enterprise Office will award six investments to three category winners and three runners-up at county level. The local winners in the Best Start-Up and Best Established Business categories at county level will receive investments of up to €15,000 each and the two runners-up will each receive up to €5,000. The Best Business Idea winner at county level will receive an investment of up to €7,000 and the runner-up will receive up to €3,000 of investment. These winners at county level will progress to Regional Finals early next year and the national IBYE finals will be held in March 2017.

Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices explains: “The substantial investments available under IBYE are a very important part of the programme and will help more young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and create more jobs. Other business supports, such as management training, networking and one-to-one mentoring are also at the heart of IBYE. Last year, 450 young entrepreneurs benefitted from these business supports, so the rewards are there for participants, as well as for the winners. Taking part in IBYE will help Ireland’s young entrepreneurs to move their businesses to the next level, whatever stage their business is at.”

IBYE is now in its third year and last year’s winners were James Foody of Ayda in South Cork (Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur for 2015 and Best Start-Up Business), Blaine Doyle of GlowDX in Kilkenny (Best Business Idea) and James Wood of Rathwood in Wicklow (Best Established Business). The inaugural winner of the competition in 2014 was Eamon Keane of Xpreso Software in South Dublin.
To enter, young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 inclusive are being asked to visit the IBYE website at www.ibye.ie, to submit their entry online. The closing date for entries is Friday, October 14th 2016 and there is no entry fee. Further information and details are also available from the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide.

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