€150,000 investment fund allocated as Local Enterprise Offices announce Cork’s Young Entrepreneurs of the Year

Nine of Cork’s ‘Best Young Entrepreneurs’ were officially announced at an awards ceremony hosted by Cork’s three Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) on Thursday, 9th October in Vertigo, County Hall. The nine winners were chosen from almost 40 young entrepreneurs who were shortlisted from almost 150 applicants in the competition launched this summer by the LEOs in Cork, as part of a nationwide search to find ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’.

The campaign saw each of the three LEOs (Cork City, South Cork, Cork North and West) encourage Cork’s young entrepreneurs to enter and be in with a chance to receive a portion of the €150,000 investment fund up for grabs. The competition, which called for young entrepreneurs aged 30 and under from all over Cork to ‘just do it, like’ and apply, was judged in three distinct categories following the presentation of their business plan to judging panels in their specific region. The three categories were:

  • Best New Idea
  • Best Start-up Business
  • Best Established Business with New Add-on

To help prepare for this stage of the competition, the finalists participated in a business boot camp last month designed to help the participants to develop the skills required to take their entrepreneurial idea from concept stage to reality and to build towards an investable business plan.

The winning businesses were then chosen according to criteria including businesses’ investment needs, business prospects and the young entrepreneur themselves.  The winner in each category received significant investment in their business, with one overall winner in each of the regions receiving the accolade of ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ in their region.

In the LEO South Cork competition Ian Kerins won the Best New Idea category and received €10,000 investment on his company, Enduro Pro, which is developing the first non-invasive, optical sensor based wearable device to support endurance athletes in both monitoring and lactate threshold training to enable athletes to significantly enhance their performance.

Richard Barrett, Pundit Arena won Best New Start-up, receiving €20,000 investment. Pundit Arena is a revenue generating sports media website powered by articulate fans, aspiring and established journalists. These “pundits” write about topics and sports of interest to them and publish their content through the Pundit Arena web platform. Richard was also named Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the LEO South Cork region.

The winner of Best Established Business with New Add-on category and €20,000 investment was Myles Murray of PMD Solutions. PMD solutions is delivering the “lost vital” to healthcare professionals. This vital sign is a measure of how often a person breathes per minute and is the first indicator that a person is deteriorating in health. Myles is positioning his premier product, RespiraSense, as the world’s first and only ubiquitously designed Respiratory Rate monitor and the industry standard for all patients across all clinical areas.

In the LEO Cork City competition, the Best New Idea category was won by Darren Hayes who received €10,000 investment in his company, D.A. Renewable Energy. The business goal of this renewable energy company is to remove fossil fuels in applications which can be replaced by a renewable energy source, whether wind, wave, tidal or solar.

Nanci Creedon of Creedon’s Doggie Daycare received €20,000 investment in the Best Established with a New Add-on category. Nanci has proven that over the last four and a half years that there is a market for ethical, science based canine care, designed to remove the fear that dogs feel during grooming. 

The title of Best Start-up, and €20,000 investment, went to Sarah Dineen of Uniwink, a new innovative e-learning platform allowing college students to access and share peer generated course material and schedule real time peer tutoring sessions. Sarah also walked away with the accolade of Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Cork City region.

In the Cork North and West competition, the Best Start-Up Business category was won by brothers, James and Peter Nagle for their business ‘The Crypto Broker’, which is one of the leading Bitcoin brokers in Ireland and one of the leading Litecoin brokers in Europe. With the €20,000 investment from LEO Cork North and West, they now plan to establish their own crypto currency exchange platform and will use the investment to develop the exchange platform.

Donagh Murphy won the Best New Idea category, scooping €10,000 investment in his company ‘MaxExam.ie’ from LEO Cork North and West. Donogh is developing an e-commerce company, positioning itself to become a market leader in offering tuition as well as benchmarking to secondary school students in STEM subjects.

Winner of the Best Established with new Add-on category, winning €20,000 investment in her company was Caroline Crowley for ‘CPC Outsourcing’. Caroline’s company provides tax and accountancy services for firms, mainly London based but now expanding throughout the UK. She has invested in high spec IT infrastructure and systems to provide a top quality service for firms who now have the opportunity to outsource tax and accountancy services to Bandon. Caroline plans to spend the investment on hiring new people and in marketing her business in the UK. Caroline was also named Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the LEO Cork North & West competition.

The next stage of the national competition will see all nine Cork winners go forward to represent their LEO in a regional final in November, and if successful there, fly the Cork flag at the national final to find ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ at the end of the year.

Sean O’Sullivan, Head of Local Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office South Cork said “The aim of this initiative was to encourage and support a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in Cork, to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage the establishment and development of new innovative businesses by Cork’s young entrepreneurs.”

He continued “We would like to commend all these brave young people having decided to take the next step in to making their business dream a reality, and we wish them all the very best in their entrepreneurial journey ahead. Best of luck to the nine Cork winners who will fly the Cork flag in the regional final next month; and who knows, with the Cork region being heralded as the entrepreneur’s hub of Ireland, the overall national winner could indeed be from Cork.” 

Visit www.ibye.ie for more information on ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’. To follow the progress of Cork’s young entrepreneurs, check out @LEOSouthCork on Twitter and Local Enterprise Office South Cork on Facebook.

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