The countywide search to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE), was launched this week by Local Enterprise Office, Donegal County Council. The competition is open to entrepreneurs aged 18 – 35, who have a business idea or already operate a new or established business.
With a €2 million investment fund available, including a €50,000 investment fund for Donegal, the enterprise initiative from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland attracted 1,400 applications across the country last year and supported over 450 young entrepreneurs through training, mentoring and direct financial assistance.
Co-ordinated by all 31 Local Enterprise Offices, the initiative begins with a nationwide competition across three categories at county level: Best Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business. Around 450 applicants, across each county, will be invited to attend regional ‘Entrepreneur Bootcamps’ in November, to help them develop their business and new venture ideas. Following the boot-camp, three Donegal finalists will be selected to represent the county in the regional finals in early 2017.
Aisling Cunningham from Carndonagh won the Best Established Business category in last year’s competition for her company Powder ‘N’ Pout. She says the competition really benefitted her business and would encourage other young entrepreneurs to apply: “The advice and support I received after entering IBYE was fantastic.
The Donegal Local Enterprise Office really pointed me in the right direction and put me in contact with the people I needed to talk to, which helped a great deal. This competition is perfect for anyone who has a good business idea and wants to take it to the next level.”
Adding to this Ursula Donnelly, Deputy Head of Enterprise at Local Enterprise Office, Donegal County Council said: “The search is on to find Donegal’s best young entrepreneurs and almost any young person with a business idea can enter this competition.
It doesn’t matter what your background is; whether you have been to University and researched a business idea, or have always wanted to be your own boss, improve your existing business or return home and set up your business in Ireland. If you are aged between 18 and 35 with an outstanding idea or commercial venture for a start-up or existing business, then IBYE is the competition for you”.
“The Local Enterprise Office Donegal is about supporting fresh and innovative ideas, so our advice for anyone thinking of getting involved in this year’s competition is to take the first step on your entrepreneurial journey by getting in touch with us today” she added.
IBYE is open to individuals, venture teams, partnerships, existing businesses with new ideas and people living overseas who want to base their headquarters in Ireland. Applying is simple, with no entry fee, and through the total investment fund, Local Enterprise Office, Donegal County Council will award six investment prizes to three category winners and three runners-up, before the Regional Finals early next year.
The Donegal winners in the Best Start-Up and Best Established Business categories will receive €15,000 each and the two runners-up will each receive €5,000. The Best Business Idea winner locally will receive an investment prize of €7,000 and the runner-up will receive €3,000.
The deadline to apply for this year’s competition is Friday, 14th October 2016. For more information or to enter, visit www.localenterprise.ie/donegal or www.ibye.ie.
Local Enterprise Office Donegal is supported through co-funding from the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020.