Competition to find Limerick’s best young entrepreneurs enters final stages

  • Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur

The competition to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) steps up a gear as the Limerick county final takes place on Monday (13 November 2017).

IBYE is a programme run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), including LEO Limerick with the support of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.

The competition is open to people between the ages of 18 and 35 with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business.

Now in its 4th year, IBYE has an investment fund of up to €2 million and there is a €50,000 county investment fund on offer to local winners and runners-up in Limerick.

IBYE is run locally by Local Enterprise Office Limerick across three categories: Best Business Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business.

Eamon Ryan, Head of Enterprise for LEO Limerick said: “We had a huge response to the competition this year. We’ve attracted entrepreneurs aged 18-35 from right across the county with an amazing array of business ideas and start-ups. We’ve also been really impressed by the young entrepreneurs who’ve entered in the Best-Established category, many of whom have multiple employees or are already exporting into international markets. Judging by the calibre of entries this year, the future of enterprise in Limerick is looking bright.”

IBYE co-ordinator in Limerick, Mary Killeen Fitzgerald added: “IBYE is a springboard for young entrepreneurs here locally, connecting them to their Local Enterprise Office who can help them to start or expand a business. Everyone who entered the competition this year was invited to “Enterprise Day” where they met with mentors, learned about the supports available to them and got really valuable business advice. From there, shortlisted applicants took part in an intensive Business Bootcamp before submitting their updated business plans for the county final.”

The Limerick County Final takes place on Monday 13 November 2017 in the Strand Hotel. The event will be hosted by Meghann Scully, Spin SouthWest and presentation of awards will be made by Patrick O Donovan,T.D, Minister of State at the Departments of Finance, and Public Expenditure and Reform. Among the special guests at the awards ceremony will be Stephen Keary, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, and Conn Murray, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council along with other elected representatives and business leaders.

The Limerick finalists are:

Best Business Idea

  • Domhnall M. Coffey
  • Hatem Abnoun
  • John O’Reilly
  • Padraic Hayes
  • Ronan Queally

Best Established Business

  • BJ Broderick – Wellnice pops
  • Declan Dore - Dore Concepts Ltd
  • Eric McNulty – McNulty’s Fuels
  • Kieran Normoyle – Deviate Aspire
  • Dr. Paddy Finn, Electricity Exchange

Best Start Up Business

  • Chris Kelly – Pinpoint Innovations
  • David Hennessy – Funky Donut & Co
  • Ethan O’Brien - JumpAgrade
  • Gerard O’Shea – Develop Me Ltd.

Finalists will meet the panel of judges, present their business/ business idea, conduct an interview and answer questions. Judges will then have the task of choosing a winner and runner up in each of the three categories.

Winners in Limerick will share in an investment fund of €50,000 which will help them to grow their business and build on current success. Category winners will go forward to represent Limerick in the regional finals in January.

The National Finals will take place on Sunday 4 March 2018 at Google HQ and the winners of the competition will share in an investment fund of €100,000.

You can follow the competition on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram.


Best Business Idea

  • Domhnall M. Coffey - Aiming to create a positive impact on the lives of those affected by various colorectal diseases, Domhnall is working with the Surgeons at University Hospital Limerick to take forward an advanced endoscope design. Leveraging reclassifications in Mesenteric Anatomy, he plans to commercialise this design in the near future.
  • Hatem Abnoun - is studying aeronautical engineering at the University of Limerick. His passion for computers and profound interest in technology is fundamentally what drives him to date, having built his own computer and taught himself how to code various programming languages from a very early age. He repairs computers and phones part time while at UL.
  • John O’Reilly - A graduate of LIT, with ten years experience in system architecture and software engineering. Director of the company 'Protectorate Solutions Ltd.' which aims to aid small to medium enterprises in compliance with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation requirements through their new software solution.
  • Padraic Hayes - My interest in Business began while working in our family business. I graduated from Waterford Institute of Technology with an honours degree in Business. Fortunately I was offered the Kerry Group Graduate Programme beginning in 2015, working across Denmark, United Kingdom, Poland and Ireland, which was an exciting and valuable experience. I’m currently with Kerry Group in Naas Co. Kildare in Operations Finance, and was awarded the ‘Entrepreneurship’ award from our CFO in 2016 for finding and delivering cost saving opportunities.
  • Ronan Queally - Studied economics at UL and is currently completing a MSc. in Financial Services at UCD whilst he also works full time in the Finance industry. A keen triathlete, Ronan aims to develop a service that will be of great benefit to all triathletes and multisport athletes.

Best Established Business

  • BJ Broderick – Wellnice Pops - Is the Co-Founder and Chief Lemon Squeezer at Wellnice Pops. With over ten year’s food industry experience, in both management and proprietary roles, BJ returned to education and trained to be a Nutrition & Health Coach. It was during this time that the idea for Wellnice Pops was born.
  • Declan Dore - Dore Concepts Ltd - is the CEO & Founder of Dore Concepts which specialises in designing and presenting business and life skills training for self employed individuals, managers and executives from SME’s to large corporate Enterprises. With our new online global training academy we can now educate and deliver our products and services anywhere in the world. To learn more view:
  • Eric McNulty – McNulty’s Fuels - Eric McNulty is 28 and from Hospital, Co. Limerick. Eric is the Managing Director of McNulty’s Fuels – a forecourt retailer in the town. He reached the county final of the IBYE competition in 2015 before winning the Best Service Business Limerick Award in the 2016 National Enterprise Awards.
  • Kieran Normoyle – Deviate Aspire - We at Deviate Aspire offer a range of product design services including research, concept and prototype development, 3D Modelling and Visualisations of both new and existing products. We also conduct Commercial and Technical Feasibility Studies relating to client technologies.
  • Dr. Paddy Finn, Electricity Exchange - Electricity Exchange is a Virtual Power Station operating in Ireland’s Electricity Market. Since September 2014, the Limerick Company has grown to a multi-million-euro annual turn-over and can now power over 75,000 homes while supporting renewable generation. Staff numbers have doubled in the last 12 months and the company is now moving to a larger facility to allow further expansion.

Best Start Up Business

  • Chris Kelly – Pinpoint Innovations - Pinpoint Innovations over the last 14 months has developed Tracworx in collaboration with the peri operative care team at the University Hospital Limerick. Tracworx is a patient tracking system that creates a holistic patient journey, driving hospital efficiencies, ultimately leading to better patient care.
  • David Hennessy – Funky Donut & Co - I have been a head chef my whole adult life, and always pushed myself to be the best I can, winning numerous accolades during this time. I have 15 years of experience in the catering & hospitality industry and was introduced at an early age to business through family run establishments.Under my family and friends guidance, I feel that I have grown from experience in the business industry and am enjoying building my business portfolio with Funky Donuts & Co.
  • Ethan O’Brien – JumpAgrade - Graduated in Computer Engineering from UL, and also completed a postgrad diploma in Business. He has 6+ years experience in tutoring and his vision is to transform how students learn through feedback. He loves to surf and he lived from a van while growing jumpAgrade until achieving seed investment
  • Gerard O’Shea – Develop Me Ltd. - Gerard graduated from the University of Limerick with a B.A. in Law and Accounting (1.1). After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, he completed an MSc in Work and Organisational Psychology. Gerard established Develop Me Ltd. in 2016, providing the highest quality experiential learning training programmes to the education market.

Background: About Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur:

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is an enterprise initiative run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) around the country and funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. A €2 million investment fund is available through IBYE which supports young entrepreneurs through training, mentoring and direct financial investments.

IBYE was open to people between the ages of 18 (at date of application) and 35 (at 31st December 2017) with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business, including: individuals, venture teams, partnerships, existing businesses with a new idea, or people overseas (including Irish emigrants) who will headquarter in Ireland.

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 18 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 18 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 proceed to eight regional finals in January and February 2018 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.

See More