30 June 2015

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) in Cork will give a significant boost to a number of young entrepreneurs from Cork, helping them launch their businesses to the next level, thanks to a €150,000 investment fund available through Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition.

The three LEOs in Cork - South Cork, Cork City, and Cork North & West - are each running the competition aimed at finding the best young entrepreneurs, in three categories, with an overall winner from each going forward to represent their LEO in regional finals, and if successful there, flying the Cork flag at the national finals to find ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ later this year.

The competition, which has a simple online application form, is open to individuals aged 18 to 30 and will be judged under three distinct categories:

  • Best idea (not yet trading)
  • Best start-up (trading for 24 months or less)
  • Best established business (trading for more than 24 months)

This is the second year of the competition, which sees each of the three LEOs having a total fund of €50,000 to invest in the three winning businesses according to criteria including businesses’ investment needs and business prospects; with the overall county winners eligible for an investment of up to €20,000. Applications from Cork businesses and start-ups are invited before July 31st, with successful applicants progressing to a business boot camp and mentoring programmes in association with the LEOs in Cork.

The county-based stage of the competition will culminate with the naming of the three ‘Best Young Entrepreneurs’ in Cork, followed by regional finals, and ultimately national finals with one business-person being crowned Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur before the end of the year.

The 2014 competition saw in Cork, saw nine winners chosen from almost 40 county finalists, who had been short-listed from almost 150 applicants. Last year’s county winners were Myles Murray, PMD Solutions; Richard Barrett, Pundit Arena; Ian Kerins, Enduro Pro; Sarah Dinneen, Uniwink; Darren Hayes, D.A. Renewable Energy; Nanci Creedon, Creedon’s Doggie Daycare; James and Peter Nagle, Bitcove (formerly Cryptobroker); Donagh Murphy, Maxexam.ie; and Caroline Crowley, CPC Outsourcing. 

Sean O’Sullivan, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office South Cork said “This competition offers the ideal opportunity for young entrepreneurs in the Cork region to launch their business to the next level, and really make it take off! The aim of this initiative is 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. This is hugely important for job-creation as two thirds of all new jobs are generated by businesses in the first five years of existence – more start-ups and a thriving entrepreneurial culture will lead to more jobs being created.”

In addition to investment prizes, additional supports are being offered to those entering, Sean O’Sullivan explained “As well as our three local winners, who will share the €50,000 investment fund, a large number of young entrepreneurs and business owners will also be invited to take part in business boot camps, helping them finely tune their business plans and learn new enterprise skills. One-to-one mentoring and business coaching will also be available through us. Whether you are at the idea stage or if you are already trading, all that matters is that you have a good business idea that works, so apply before July 31st, and see your business take off.”

The Cork competition is part of the national competition which is part of the Action Plan for Jobs and was launched in May by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny. T.D. and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr. Richard Bruton T.D.

Minister Bruton said “The prizes involved can be game-changing for a new business. The investment can be used to buy a new piece of equipment for example or it can be used to help pay the salary of a new employee joining the team. The experience of last year’s IBYE winners shows the great benefit that this competition can bring. We have a growing number of entrepreneurs here in Ireland, but we don’t have enough of them. Through Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition, we’re encouraging more young people to consider setting up a business as a career choice - and the supports on offer through IBYE can help them deliver on that.”

Follow the campaign on Twitter @IBYECork and IBYE Cork on facebook using the hashtag #JustDoItLike.

Apply before July 31st to launch your business to the next level by becoming Cork’s Best Young Entrepreneur. For more information or to apply, call (021) 4975281 or visit www.ibye.ie.