The search for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) got underway in Waterford on Friday, 16th September at an event hosted by Waterford’s Local Enterprise Office.
With a €2million investment fund available, including a €50,000 investment fund for the successful Waterford entrepreneurs, the enterprise initiative from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland attracted 1,400 applications across the country last year and supported over 450 young entrepreneurs through training, mentoring and direct financial assistance.
At the LEO Waterford launch of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2016, the Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, Mr. John Halligan T.D. said:
“IBYE is an initiative under the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. The aim of the initiative is to support a culture of entrepreneurship among young people at both national and local levels, to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage young people to set up new businesses which will ultimately create and sustain jobs. I would like to congratulate the LEO Waterford in partnership with the Local Authority for their excellent efforts in promoting the competition for the third year in a row.
The search to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs has unearthed and developed exciting new businesses across Waterford in the past two years. The competition is hugely important in fostering and encouraging our young talent locally to either develop the idea for a business, or to grow their current business into the future.
Waterford already has an enviable track record in this competition in the past and I would encourage all young entrepreneurs across Waterford, between the ages of 18 and 35, to enter this year’s IBYE competition before the October 14th deadline”.
Mike Treyvaud of gaming start-up company, TreyBro, won Best Start–Up award in last year’s competition while Lyndsey Power of Inn the Doghouse won the Best Established Business category in 2014.
The experience has proved to be very positive for both entrepreneurs and according to Mike Treyvaud, it was a springboard to expanding the business and discovering new markets. “The win gave me and my partners in TreyBro the confidence to grow our business, to go after new customers, new investors and to put ourselves out there on the international gaming platform. We attended industry-leading conferences where we could confidently pitch to potential investors and it also helped us in building new business relationships.”
“I would encourage any young entrepreneur who is either in business or has a sound business idea to apply for the IBYE programme. The whole process from start to finish is very rewarding and the mentoring, marketing and other supports on offer from LEO Waterford are a fantastic boost to any new business.”
Mr. Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise at Waterford Local Enterprise Office highlighted the success Waterford has had in previous national IBYE competitions. “Waterford is a breeding ground for innovative, smart and imaginative young entrepreneurs. Last year Waterford was represented in the national final by not one, but two Waterford entrepreneurs, Liam Sexton of Photo2CAD and Eddy Lynch of Suir Sprayers. In the 2014 IBYE national final, Padraig O’ Scanaill picked up the award for the ‘Best Online Promotion of Business’ for his company, Fund Recs.”
“The IBYE programme is a fantastic initiative that LEO Waterford is proud to support, as it gives our future entrepreneurs the encouragement, support and assistance they need to turn their ideas into a commercial reality.”
With an investment fund of up to €50,000, Local Enterprise Office Waterford will award six investment prizes to three category winners and three runners-up, before the Regional Finals early next year.
The local winners in the Best Start-Up and Best Established Business categories will receive up to €15,000 each and the two runners-up will each receive up to €5,000. The Best Business Idea winner locally will receive an investment prize of up to €7,000 and the runner-up will receive up to €3,000.
To enter, young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 in Waterford are being asked to visit the competition website at www.ibye.ie, to submit their entry online. The closing date to enter is Friday, October 14th and there is no entry fee.