Two young entrepreneurs from Kilkenny are going head-to-head with entrepreneurs from Carlow, Wexford and Wicklow at the Regional Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which takes place on January 31 in Wexford.
Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny will be represented at this year’s Regional Final by Mel Clohosey (33) from Urlingford Kilkenny with his business proposal SocialFeedia in the Best Idea Category and Leanne Nolan (35) of Vow2Wow – a specialised award–winning freelance bridal hairstyling service with plans to expand into a hairdressing academy - will be in the Best Start- Up category.
Three finalists will be selected by the judging panel to compete at the IBYE National Final in March, one from each competition category.
So far, 180 talented entrepreneurs across every county in Ireland, aged between 18 and 35, have been awarded a total of €1.5 million in investment funding through the Local Enterprise Offices, after winning or becoming runners-up in IBYE County Finals.
This initiative for young entrepreneurs is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) nationwide, and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. The investment awards will be used by the young entrepreneurs to help fund business start-ups, create new jobs locally or to help develop new products for international markets.
As part of the supports on offer through the competition, more than 400 young entrepreneurs around the country benefited from boot-camp training sessions in which they were put through their paces in every aspect of how to start and develop a business.
Fiona Deegan, Head of Enterprise (Acting) with Local Enterprise Office Kilkenny, wished local category winners the best of luck at the Regional Final, saying:
“We see the IBYE initiative as an important springboard for our young entrepreneurs who want to start or expand a business. The 180 entrepreneurs across every county in Ireland who share €1.5 million in investment funding, which include our County Winners and Runners-up, can now make their business ideas and expansion plans a reality in 2017. It’s also about nurturing entrepreneurs through bootcamps, training, networking and mentoring, with job creation benefits throughout the region.”
Announcing details for the Regional Finals, The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D, said:
“This competition highlights that Ireland’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. Our young entrepreneurs are the employers of the future, and are the backbone of the Irish economy. This investment will help all their businesses to grow and flourish and in turn will create and support more jobs throughout every region.”
The competition attracted a record number of entries, with 1,842 applying in total and 185 applying from the region.
The young entrepreneurs are hoping to follow in the footsteps of the three 2015 National Finalists from the region notably Blaine Doyle of GlowDx.
The region has enjoyed considerable success in the competition, as Blaine Doyle won the respective categories, clinching ‘Best Business Idea’ in 2015.
More details are available through www.localenterprise.ie and from the IBYE website at www.ibye.ie.