Search for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is now underway – Mary Mitchell O’ Connor

€2 million investment fund to support young entrepreneurs, aged between 18 and 35
Tuesday, August 16th 2016

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:

“The quest to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is one of the most exciting initiatives to create new businesses and new jobs in recent years. IBYE generates that “can-do” spirit in which young people excel. I want to foster that spirit and to demonstrate that there is help out there for any young person that wants to take a risk and start their own business. The first-stop-shop to get advice and support on starting a business is your Local Enterprise Office. I want to congratulate the Local Enterprise Offices on rolling out IBYE and I look forward to meeting Ireland’s young entrepreneurs up and down the country. 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.

ENDS

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Notes to Editor

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2016 (#IBYE)

Website: 
www.ibye.ie (closing date to enter: Friday, October 14th 2016)

Social Media: #IBYE

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is a programme that is open to people between the ages of 18 (at date of application) and 35 (at 31st December 2016) with an innovative business idea, including:

• individuals
• venture teams
• partnerships
• existing businesses with a new idea
• people overseas (including Irish emigrants) who will headquarter in Ireland

Each Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is running a competition in each county (Friday October 14th closing date) aimed at finding winners in each of the three categories as well as an overall county winner. Each LEO will have a total fund of up to €50,000 to invest in six businesses (three category winners and three runners-up) according to criteria including businesses’ investment needs. The three categories are as follows:

Best Business Idea (pre-trading) – up to €10,000 investment fund through every LEO (€7,000 for category winner and €3,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)
Best Start-Up Business (up to 36 months), with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)
Best Established Business (over 36 months) with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)

The county winners will then proceed to eight regional finals from which 24 contenders (three from each region – one in each category) will be selected to compete for the national title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. A further €100,000 investment fund will be available to invest in the winners of the three categories at the national final, one of which will also be named with the prestigious title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.