Limerick’s finalists in this year’s Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition are preparing for the Regional Finals which are scheduled to take place in Tralee, Co Kerry on Tuesday 16 January 2018.
Limerick’s Best Young Entrepreneur, Chris Kelly of Pinpoint Innovations, who was also chosen as Best Start-Up Business at the county event, will be joined by Padraic Hayes of myBEV.ie in the Best Idea Category and Dr Paddy Finn from Electricity Exchange in the Best Established Business section as they do battle with entrepreneurs from Clare, Kerry and Tipperary for a chance to compete in the National Finals in March in the Google Headquarters.
The Regional Finals take place on Tuesday 16 January 2018 in Tralee.
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 fourth year, IBYE has an overall investment fund of up to €2 million.
Limerick’s winners and runners-up have shared in the €50,000 county fund, thus helping to stimulate enterprise and job creation at local level.
IBYE is run locally by Local Enterprise Office Limerick across three categories: Best Business Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business.
In advance of the Regional Finals, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys said: “This is a real flagship programme for our Department and the Local Enterprise Offices. The aim of the competition is to reach out to young entrepreneurs across the country and to nurture their talent and innovative ideas. Taking part in the competition gives the participants access to mentoring and support through their Local Enterprise Office.”
Minister Humphreys added: “There have been some very interesting trends in the 2018 competition. Software developments are strong in all three categories, as well as health foods and artisan distilling. Medical devices, educational software, energy and recycling innovations are also in the mix. Manufacturing services and energy remain as strong as ever and it’s good to see a strong line-up in personal and professional service companies, many of which are strong job creators.”
Minister of State for Small Business, Pat Breen said: “Building on the success of previous IBYE competitions, this Government wants to support more young entrepreneurs through the 31 LEOs. Ireland has a well-earned reputation as a country that supports and fosters enterprise. Our young entrepreneurs are talented, innovative and dynamic and IBYE offers a very significant stepping stone into the world of running a business for young people aged 18 to 35. We all recognise how vital it is to have Irish businesses that can grow to scale and create jobs in local communities. So, it’s not just a competition, it is a training ground to guide and mentor young entrepreneurs through all the stages of developing and sustaining a business.”
Wishing the Limerick entrepreneurs well in the regional final, Eamon Ryan, Head of Enterprise with Limerick City and County Council’s Local Enterprise Office praised the spirit of entrepreneurship in Limerick as evidenced by the interest and enthusiasm shown in the IBYE competition. Eamon said: “I have no doubt, given the quality of the three Limerick finalists, that Limerick will be represented in Google Headquarters on 4th March in the IBYE National Finals”.
Representing the Local Enterprise Offices, Sheelagh Daly said “The beauty of this competition is that it starts off at local level. Applicants apply to their local LEO and we nurture the relationship at a series of events including Enterprise Day and at Bootcamps. So even if a participant doesn’t win, they have made valuable connections, received excellent business advice and have built a relationship with their Local Enterprise Office to access ongoing supports.”