It’s funny, but sometimes the very reason you enter competitions like #IBYE, Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, ends up being overtaken in value by the most unexpected thing.
Some enter for funding and leave with a business plan, others want the business plan advice and end up with funding, yet the one thing that surprises many throughout competitions like IBYE, are the friendships made and the networking opportunities gained through meeting like-minded people with similar goals who are facing the same issues as yourself.
Each of these outcomes are a fantastic reason to enter IBYE but, in some cases it’s the fear and uncertainty of the unknown that can give you pause for thought. The fear of knowing whether your idea or business will be the right fit.
Obviously the only way to really know this is to take the plunge and enter IBYE but, for those who are uncertain, let’s see if IBYE is for you.
Is IBYE For You?
Well do these scenarios seem familiar?
There comes a time when that idea you have had in the back of your mind for a business just won’t go away and you realise that the only way to alleviate the nagging thought in the back of your mind is to actually go and do something about it.
For some the idea remains an idea, mainly because of the uncertainty of how to take the next step to turn it into a reality. Others take those initial steps and begin to develop a start-up business. This has its own uncertainties which can include the operational obstacles and finding ways to market and grow your business. For those with established businesses it can be finding the funding to be able to expand, recruit and develop.
All of these scenarios are familiar to IBYE. So let’s take a look at three signs that you need to enter Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.
1. You have a business idea
We all have fantastic ideas that are spontaneous and mainly happen when you are caught in the moment and forget to write them down. Some don’t go away and pop back into your mind regularly but you are not sure whether they should remain an idea or have enough substance to take seed and grow.
Ellevyn Irwin of Click Clinic in Donegal was in this situation when she decided to enter IBYE last year. She made a spontaneous decision to enter IBYE and ended up as the Winner of the Best New Idea in Donegal before also winning her Regional Final and qualifying for the IBYE National Final. The initial application step for Ellevyn took just ten to fifteen minutes!
“I entered at the last minute! I didn’t have a business before I entered the Competition. I typed my idea in online, straight into the website and now I have a business. I think that’s a testimony in itself; take ten to fifteen minutes to fill out a form and you can have a business in a couple of months.”
Ian Coleman of Life Bites, the winner of Best New Idea for Wexford was uncertain on whether to enter as he wasn’t sure if he fit being a ‘business type’. That uncertainty soon disappeared.
“I would say just go for it. It really takes your idea from being nothing into being a reality. Whether or not you get through you get so much advice and so much help. You get to see the world of entrepreneurship where you see that you CAN do it. Initially I felt, oh this is something business people do but then when I got through the process I realised that, no, anyone can do it.”
So the answer is, that if you have an idea then go for it. You can quickly find out whether it is a feasible idea through the expert advice that is available within the IBYE process.
2. You have start up business and need some IBYE support
The beauty of last year’s IBYE competition was the diversity of the types of business that entered. From clothes designers to tortilla revolutions, the mix encompassed everything from tech, education, science, health, food, design and even booze!
The one thing these businesses had in common was their need for support. Not just financial (but it really helps!) but the advice and mentorship that could be gained from both the IBYE process and their fellow competitors.
Micheal Savage of Lir Agri in Longford won the Best Start-Up title for Longford in the IBYE County and Regional Finals and found that through the whole process, the advice he received for his business had a great impact for him.
“The LEO for me has been hugely influential in how I grew the business from every aspect, not just financially, and the networking side of it is by far the strongest point of IBYE. It’s a super competition.”
Steven Murphy of Old Carrick Mill in Monaghan enjoyed the hard work as he found it challenging but gained huge value for his business.
“The competition is a fantastic opportunity for Ireland’s young entrepreneurs. It’s challenging and hard work but extremely rewarding.”
The answer here is that any business in the Start-Up phase can benefit from the advice and mentorship that is available throughout the IBYE process and, again, the money helps!
3. You have an established business that IBYE could help you expand.
A fascinating aspect of the IBYE competition last year was the drive and passion shown by the competitors, for their established business. What they needed was a framework for expansion and the result was that many of them have now gone global!
Rhona Togher of Restored Hearing in Sligo found that applying this type of framework through the IBYE process has reaped dividends and they are currently recruiting!
“As a young entrepreneur it’s quite hard to get help and resources and IBYE really helped us to hone our business plan and helped us to expand globally. So we had a business and we were running with customers and now; we’re more global, more determined and know what we are going to do. The LEO in Sligo sat us down and really helped us to put that together. A realistic plan that we are now executing.”
Dean Gammell of DG Ventures based in West Meath is expanding his particular venture through recruitment and the export markets.
“We are all recruiting and moving forward. Making things happen. The LEO’s don’t actually get enough credit for what they have done for all of us. For people starting a business, they really need to be reaching into their LEO and chatting to them. From what we’ve gone through with IBYE, that’s what got us where we are today. They are such an important element of the business moving forward.”
Shane Byrne of Showoff in Wicklow has a strong recruitment drive currently as well as global market expansion.
“Everyone’s hitting the export markets, expanding our teams and moving on up. The whole things going to change over the next couple of months in Showoff. Our whole business has almost doubled in size since last year and we have totally new and different clients that we are working with now. We are starting to get into the global markets so it’s a great time.”
The results speak for themselves. Each of these businesses are individual and unique to the industry, area and the people that run them. If you have a business idea or start up, then no matter what the stage or whatever the doubts, the chances are that IBYE will be for you.
The prize money is the icing on a great cake of advice, mentorship and growth. There’s nothing to lose but, in Ellevyn’s words, the ten to fifteen minutes of your time it takes to apply.
What do you hope to gain from IBYE? Let us know!