Sixteen of Donegal’s brightest young entrepreneurs will be working on fine-tuning their business plans and rehearsing their pitches as they get set for the finals of the local stage of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) in December.
The Donegal competition had 55 entries this year and having come through the initial selection process on the basis of the potential demonstrated in their ideas and businesses, the local finalists in three categories – Best Idea, Best Start-Up and Best Established – were in Gartan at the weekend for an intensive three-day business bootcamp.
Six young entrepreneurs – Jolene McLaughlin, Christopher Duffy, Kyle McLaughlin, Niamh Porter, Sarah Barr and Deirdre Ward will contest the Best Idea category, while there will be five contestants in the other two.
Paul McMahon, Eilis Galbraith, Ciara McGlynn, Clare McLaughlin and Stephanie Kee will compete in the category of Best Start Up.
In the Best Established category those in contention are Thomas McLaughlin, Derek Walker, Finn Ni Fhaoilain, Caitlin NicGabhann and Arantxa Lopez.
All sixteen finalists were given an opportunity to challenge themselves and their business when they were put through their paces at last weekend’s bootcamp.
They were joined over the weekend by several local business speakers, including Brendan Toner, last year’s overall winner in the Donegal Best Young Entrepreneur competition.
Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Michael Tunney, says IBYE has been hugely popular among the county’s brightest young entrepreneurs over the past few years.
“All of the finalists in last year’s local competition were delighted with the training and assistance they had received. Indeed, many said they felt like winners irrespective of who actually took the various titles. From the feedback we have received from this year’s finalists we know they have already gained a lot from their participation in the bootcamp in Gartan over the weekend.”
According to Mr. Tunney the business bootcamp will have helped this year’s finalists fine tune their business plans, learn new enterprise skills and avail of the highest quality one to one mentoring and business coaching.
“The feedback year on year from businesses who have taken part in IBYE, has been that the training and advice they received has been invaluable and has helped them immensely with their business goals and ambitions.
All 16 of this year’s finalists demonstrated great energy and commitment over the weekend. The insight and learning they will have picked up at the bootcamp will help them immensely on their journey as entrepreneurs beyond the competition,” Mr Tunney said.
The finalists will undergo more intensive mentoring over the coming weeks ahead of a presentation of their businesses to a judging panel.
The Donegal category winners of the Best Young Entrepreneur will then be announced at a special presentation lunch on Friday December 1st.
Local winners in the Best Start-Up and Best Established Business categories 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.
The winners at county level will progress to Regional Finals hosted in Donegal early next year and will be hoping to reach the national IBYE finals in March 2018.
Local Enterprise Office Donegal is supported through co-funding from the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020.
For information about the supports and services on offer from Local Enterprise Office, Donegal call: 07491 60735 or e.mail