The “best young entrepreneur” in Kilkenny city and county is 33-year-old Mel Clohosey, from Urlingford, for his business proposal SocialFeedia.
The entrepreneur also won the category for Best Idea Category and an investment fund from LEO Kilkenny worth €7,000 at the awards organised by the Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny
Mel's concept is to build a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, buy and supply freshly produced local food – online, from a mobile or from door-to-door service. In essence Mel explains that SocialFeedia is a Daft.ie for fresh local food.
SocialFeedia will connect people who want to sell local food with people who want to buy local food.
The County Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition was held at Kilkenny County Council on Monday. This competition is for young entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35.
It has a €2 million investment fund and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.
The other main category winner on the day was Leanne Nolan in the Best Start-Up Category.
Leanne established her business Vow2WOW just over one year ago. She currently offers a specialised award winning freelance bridal hairstyling service with plans to expand into developing a hairdressing academy.
Mel and Leanne will represent the County at the IBYE Regional Finals at the end of January in Wexford.
Meanwhile, the category runners-up also shared an investment of €8,000 between their businesses. They were: Laura Fennelly, 24 year old recently qualified chartered physiotherapist who was awarded runner-up in the Best Idea Category. Laura is developing an app to enable both the physiotherapist and the client to work together as a team. Runner-up in the Best Start-Up Category is a young entrepreneur from Windgap, Luke Dunne aged 23 with his business Dunne Farm Services Ltd.
Luke, although not originally from a farming background, through his love and passion for farming along with his entrepreneurial ambitions has established a farm supply services company.
The business concentrates on selling products that will save time, labour and money for the farmer.
Fiona Deegan is the Head of Enterprise (Acting) with Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny and said the search to find Ireland’s best young entrepreneur started in August and had a record-breaking number of entries this year, with 1,800 young entrepreneurs applying nationally.
After a very successful IBYE bootcamp and County Final, the future is bright for both youth entrepreneurship and job creation in the region.”
Special guests at the event included: Cathaoirleach Cllr Matt Doran; Cllr Pat Millea, Chairperson of the SPC – Economic, Enterprise Support and Tourism; Chief Executive Kilkenny Co Council, Collette Byrne and Head of Finance, Kilkenny County Co Martin Prendiville.
The vital role of the judging panel was also acknowledged. The judges included: Fiona Deegan, LEO Kilkenny, Carole Thurston, South East BIC and Blaise Brosnan, Management Resource Institute. Further details on the competition and supports available to young entrepreneurs are available through www.localenterprise.ie and from www.ibye.ie.