Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs Unveiled by An Taoiseach and Minister Bruton


24 finalists revealed in Dublin ahead of December’s National Final to crown Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur
1,400 young Irish entrepreneurs, aged between 18 and 30, take part in €2 million Investment Fund Competition

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D. and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. unveiled two dozen young entrepreneurs who are competing for the crown of “Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur” in the IBYE national final on Sunday December 6th.



1,400 young Irish entrepreneurs, all aged between 18 and 30, participated in the 2015 ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition, which is being run by the Local Enterprise Offices in the Local Authority Network. 24 finalists from 17 counties have now made it to the December national final at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin.

For this year’s competition, young Irish people who have emigrated in recent years were encouraged to apply, with a view to setting up their businesses in Ireland. Applications were received from forty young Irish entrepreneurs, based in countries such as the USA, UK, Italy, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. Two of this year’s international applicants have made it through to December’s national final.

Launched in May this year by An Taoiseach and Minister Bruton and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the nationwide competition forms part of the Action Plan for Jobs, with a total €2million fund available to county winners and overall national winners, who each can win a total of up to €70,000 investment in their business

Announcing the names of all 24 finalists and meeting them ahead of their business bootcamp in Google, An Taoiseach said:

“One of the best innovations arising from the Action Plan for Jobs, and in recognition that we need to support young Irish entrepreneurship, is the development of the Best Young Entrepreneur competition organised by the Local Enterprise Offices. It is inspirational to see these young business leaders develop new ideas and create new jobs. This is just one example of how we are going to keep up the the momentum of 1,000 new jobs a week in order to keep the recovery going. “I am particularly delighted that those young Irish people who have left our shores in recent years were encouraged to apply, with a view to setting up their businesses in Ireland. Next year we expect more Irish people to return home than leave and it will be the hard work of these young entrepreneurs which will help create the jobs to bring them home. Ireland’s young entrepreneurs are securing our recovery.”

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: “Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups – that is why we have placed at the very heart of the Action Plan for Jobs our drive to encourage more people to start up new businesses. One key aspect of this is the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition – in its second year running, this is a great initiative to celebrate our amazing young business-people and provide real tangible support to them as they expand their businesses and ultimately create 1, 2, 10, or 50 extra jobs.

“IBYE is a great example of what we are trying achieve through the Action Plan for Jobs. On its own it will not solve our jobs crisis. However by placing it into the Plan, subject to reporting mechanisms and oversight from the Taoiseach, we can be sure it will be implemented. And taken together with thousands of other actions which we have implemented through the Plan over recent years, it will help rebuild an economy based on real enterprises, innovation and exports – and create the jobs we need”.

Affordable diagnostics for neglected tropical diseases, a mobile app for e-Books and a medical device for bowel cancer patients are among the eight ideas shortlisted in the ‘Best Business Idea’ category.

Meanwhile, a wearable fertility tracker for women, healthy convenient foods and an equestrian data analytics company all made the final eight in the ‘Best Start Up Business’ category.

The final eight in the ‘Best Established Business’ category feature a fashion milliner, speciality retailers and a furniture-maker.

The three category winners all have a chance to be crowned Ireland’s overall ‘Best Young Entrepreneur’, sharing the €100,000 national final investment fund.

An Taoiseach and Minister Bruton were joined at the announcement by representatives of the Local Enterprise Offices and Enterprise Ireland.

Highlighting the year-round supports on offer to Ireland’s young entrepreneurs, Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices said: “As the first stop shop for new start-ups or small businesses looking to grow and expand, the doors of the Local Enterprise Offices in every Local Authority area are always open for young entrepreneurs. As well as one-to-one mentoring support, network meetings and specialised training, the Local Enterprise Offices can also offer access to grants and loan facilities, to help get new businesses up and running and to help them expand in the future.”

At the business bootcamp in Google, the finalists received training from Catherine Moonan on making effective pitches to prepare them when facing the judging panel later this month. They also received advice and encouragement from experts in the enterprise sector, such as Niamh Bushnell, Dublin Commissioner for Start-Ups, Paddy Flynn, Director of Product Quality Operations with Google Ireland and Gary Leyden of the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC).

Further updates about ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ and YouTube videos for each of the national finalists are available through or by searching #ibye on social media.

The official IBYE channel on YouTube is Videos generated by many of the finalists showcasing their businesses are available at this link.




Notes to Editor:


#IBYE Competition Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition is run by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in the Local Authorities Network, and the winners at county level are eligible for an investment in their business of up to €20,000, while the winners at national level can receive an additional investment of up to €50,000. Winners of individual categories can also win additional investments in their businesses.

Mentoring, marketing and other supports are also available to participating businesses at various stages of the competition. The competition is open to individuals aged 30 and under and will be judged under three distinct categories:

  • Best Business Idea (best idea for a new business)
  • Best Start-Up Business (in business for up to 24 months or less)
  • Best Established Business (in business for longer than 24 months).

The first stage was a county-based competition (run by the 31 LEOs) which led to the naming of the Best Young Entrepreneur in each county. This stage also included bootcamps and mentoring programmes. This was followed by eight regional finals. At the national final, one businessperson will be crowned Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.