Ireland’s best young entrepreneurs to vie for share of €2m fund

18 Jan 2019

From left: Minister Pat Breen, TD; Matthew McCann, Access Earth (supported by LEO Kildare); Minister Heather Humphreys, TD; and Mark Baldwin, SchooVR (supported by LEO Meath). Image: Robbie Reynolds

If you have a good idea or a new business, get applying.

The search is on for participants of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs (IBYE) 2019 programme, which is a €2m investment fund to help get businesses off the ground.

Since its inception in 2015, more than 500 young entrepreneurs have received in excess of €6.5m in funding from the programme as well as training and mentoring.

‘I urge all young entrepreneurs to call their local LEO today or log on to the IBYE website to learn about the competition’

The competition is open to people between the ages of 18 and 35 with an innovative business idea, an existing business or a new start-up.

The closing date for entries to the programme – run nationwide by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) – is Friday 15 March.

Online applications can be made through the IBYE website and LEO staff will be on hand to help if assistance is needed.

Make it happen

“We are so proud of our talented, creative and innovative young entrepreneurs, and IBYE 2019 is the perfect way to acknowledge and celebrate them, as they are vital to the future of our economy,” said Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD. “I urge all young entrepreneurs to call their local LEO today or log on to the IBYE website to learn about the competition, and also to find out first-hand how the dedicated teams in the LEO offices around the country can help them make it happen for their businesses.”

IBYE is a nationwide competition, run across three categories: Best Business Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business. As part of the IBYE process, up to 450 young entrepreneurs will be invited by the LEOs to attend free regional Entrepreneur Bootcamps later in the year to help them develop their businesses and new venture ideas.

With an IBYE investment fund of €50,000 each, every LEO will award up to six investments to three category winners and three runners-up at county level.

The local winners in the Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business categories at county level will receive investments of up to €15,000 each and the two runners-up will each receive up to €5,000. The Best Business Idea winner at county level will receive an investment of up to €7,000 and the runner-up will receive up to €3,000 of investment.

These winners at county level will progress to regional finals during the summer, with the national IBYE finals taking place on 15 September 2019.

“I have had the privilege over the past number of years of meeting many of these young entrepreneurs who have taken part in IBYE, and have seen first-hand the difference it has made to their businesses,” said Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen, TD.

“The initiative not only provides vital investment funding, but also a wide range of practical supports, all of which are available locally through our network of LEO offices. Echoing Minister Humphreys’ comments, I would encourage all young people with a business idea or currently running a business to apply for IBYE before the deadline of 15th March 2019.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years