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€50,000 investment prize fund for young entrepreneurs in Laois. It could be you!

Are you 35 or under, with a business idea or an existing business? If so, the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition could be for you!

The IBYE is a national competition that is run initially on a county-by-county basis – and there is €50,000 prize fund in Laois alone from the Local Enterprise Office.

The prize fund is divided among three different categories – Best New Business Idea, Best Start Up (trading less than 18 months) and Best Established Business (trading for longer than 18 months).

There is a €20,000 prize fund for Best Established Business (€15,000 for Winner and €5,000 for Runner up), a €20,000 prize fund for Best Start up Business (€15,000 for Winner and €5,000 for Runner up) with €10,000 for the Best New Business Idea (€7,000 for Winner and €3,000 for Runner up).

The winner of each category will then go forward to a Regional Final along with the winners from Offaly, Kildare and Westmeath. The National Final will then take place in Dublin in March 2018.

Kelly Ging, from the Portlaoise-based business Kelly Lou Cakes, was the Best Established winner in Laois and later became the first person from the county to qualify for the national final which was held in Google’s head office in Dublin in March.

Last year’s other Winners in Laois were Alan Meredith from Mountmellick who creates and designs one-off furniture pieces for national and international clients and Francis Cosgrave, a vet who comes from a dairy farming background and has come up with the idea of Sonrimor which helps farmers to use the data they collect to their best advantage.

The Laois representatives at the regional IBYE awards earlier this year. From left: Alan Meredith (winner Best Start Up) Evelyn Reddin (Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Laois), Kelly Ging (winner Best Established Business), Tom Mulhall (Caithaoirleach, Laois County Council), Honor Deevy (Senior Enterprise Development Officer, Local Enterprise Office Laois), Justin Treacy (RTE), Francis Cosgrave (Winner Best Idea)

Almost any young person with a business idea can enter the competition. It doesn’t matter what your background is – all that matters is that you have a good business idea that works!

Last year there were 64 applications in Laois, with 16 of those shortlisted across the three categories. They then took part in a business bootcamp over three days in Portlaoise, completed a business plan, received at least two mentoring sessions, pitched to a judging panel (like Dragons Den without the cameras!) and the winners were announced at lunch in the Heritage Hotel in Killenard.

This year, there is an additional layer – all applicants are invited to an Enterprise Day in the Killeshin Hotel on Wednesday, October 4, which will give a full briefing on the competition and the Enterprise Supports available from the Local Enterprise Office Laois.

IBYE – The Key Details

  • Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition is a National Competition to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur
  • Applying is simple and there is a €50,000 investment fund available from Local Enterprise Office Laois to invest in three Category Winners and Runners up
  • The Competition is open to entrepreneurs between ages 18-35 years in all business sectors
  • There are three Award Categories:
    1. Best New Business Idea Category
    2. Best Start up Business Category
    3. Best Established Business Category
  • Ther is a €50,000 Investment Fund available from Local Enterprise Office Laois

IBYE – How to enter

To enter, you must be aged 18 (at date of application) and 35 (as at December 31, 2017).

The deadline for applications is Friday, September 29. To apply you must complete a form on IBYE.ie and for more details, please contact Local Enterprise Office Laois on 057 86 61800 or email hdeevy@laoiscoco.ie

IBYE – The Key Dates

Deadline for Applications – Friday, September 29

IBYE Enterprise Day – Wednesday, October 4

All applicants are invited to attend a full day event ‘Enterprise Day’ organized by Local Enterprise Office Laois. This will take place on the 4th October in the Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise.

The Enterprise Day will give a full briefing on Local Enterprise Office Supports and a briefing on the competition stages and rules and judging criteria. Pitching masterclass, Networking and workshops will all be incorporated into the day.

IBYE Bootcamp  –  November 10, 11 and 12

All finalists will attend a Business Planning Bootcamp on November 10, 11 and 12. During the Bootcamp, the finalists will improve their entrepreneurial know how and learn how to achieve their business goals. The Bootcamp will also support finalists to develop their business pitch.  One–to-one mentoring will also be provided throughout the weekend.

IBYE County Final – Wednesday, December 13

The County IBYE Awards Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, December 13.

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