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Nationwide bid to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur now in top gear

The bid to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur moves into top gear as Regional Finals take place this month across the country

Last month, County Finals took place across all 31 Local Enterprise Office areas. The 93 county winners shared in a major investment fund of over €1.5m to accelerate the growth of their businesses. They now advance to the Regional Finals, competing for a coveted place in the National Final in March.

In advance of the Regional Finals, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, 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 TD, 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.”

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. Each Local Enterprise Office has an investment fund of up to €50,000 to invest in our county winners, thus helping to stimulate enterprise and job creation at local level.”


For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation ph. 01 6312200 or

Editor notes


Photographs have issued to picture desks from Mark Stedman Photography.

About Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur:

Now in its fourth year, Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition is run by the 31 LEOs nationwide in partnership with the Local Authorities. The programme is supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland, and the Local Authorities.

The aims of the competition are to support a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in Ireland, to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage Ireland’s young people to set up new businesses which will ultimately create jobs.

IBYE has a total investment fund of €2 million, of which an investment fund of up to €50,000 is made available to all 31 LEOs to run the competition locally across three categories:

- Best Business Idea (pre-trading)

- Best Start-Up Business (up to 18 months)

- Best Established Business (over 18 months).

The competition is open to people aged between 18 and 35.

IBYE 2018 was launched on 14th July, and attracted 1,471 applications. The competition’s County Finals have already taken place and the Regional Finals are taking place this month. The National Final of IBYE 2018 is on the 4th of March 2018. The IBYE 2017 winner was Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical, who won a €45,000 investment fund through the LEO Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown.