Home Sponsored As the IBYE deadline approaches here’s three of the previous Laois winners

As the IBYE deadline approaches here’s three of the previous Laois winners

2016 national IBYE finalist Kelly Ging with former Ireland rugby captain Mick Galwey promoting this year's competition

There is a €50,000 prize fund up for grabs for young Laois business people again this year – but the deadline for applying is this Friday, September 29.

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) is a national competition and is based initially on a county-by-county basis and organised by the Local Enterprise Office. And there is €50,000 alone to be won in Laois – across three categories – for new ideas (pre-trading), start-ups (less than 18 months) and best established (in business for more than 18 months).

To apply you must go to the IBYE website and if you are one of the finalists you will go forward to a three-day business bootcamp, submit a business plan, do a 15-minute pitch, receive a number of mentoring sessions and then attend the county final in December when the winners will be announced.

With less than a week to go to the deadline we profile three of the previous winners since the competition first started in 2014.

Heidi Higgins
Heidi Higgins – won Best Established Business Category 2014

Heidi is a graduate of the National College of Art and Design where she studied Fashion Design. Just under one year later she proudly introduced her own label to the Irish market in May 2009. Testament to her success, Heidi has won many awards including The Irish Tatler Fashion Woman of the Year 2012.

Heidi presents a confident contemporary label that is sensitive to emerging trends – with canny detailing that gives a sage nod to the catwalk while remaining fearless in pursuit of its unique aesthetic.

Heidi’s design studio and flagship boutique are based in her home town of Portlaoise and this season sees the launch of her new online business.

Heidi entered Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) run by Enterprise Ireland in conjunction with Local Enterprise Office Laois in 2014 and won the prize for the Best Established Business with Add-on.

She used her prize fund to grow her brand on an international stage. The IBYE Competition gave Heidi the opportunity to reflect on her business and she enjoyed the networking experience with other young entrepreneurs going through similar issues and get feedback on her business.

Heidi has said “The IBYE Competition has provided me with a platform to gain profile for my business and create a greater awareness around my brand. The prizefund has provided me with the opportunity to implement new business ideas and explore new opportunities.

“The training and mentoring offered during my IBYE journey has helped prepare both myself and my business for new ventures both in Ireland and overseas.”

David Finn – Won Best Business Start-up 2014

David runs the Parlour which is a Blow Dry Bar, located on the ground floor of the Laois Shopping Centre in Portlaoise. David came up with the idea of opening a Blow Dry bar which would offer clients the opportunity to pop in for a blow dry, no appointment needed and since the business idea took off, the Parlour has built up a strong customer base with clients returning which is a real testament of the success of the business model.

David entered Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Competition (IBYE) run by Enterprise Ireland in conjunction witH Local Enterprise Office Laois.

He won the prize for the Best Business Start up in 2014 and was awarded the overall winner of the three categories of the IBYE competition. David said this of his IBYE experience: “Entering the IBYE competition was a great experience for me, I would encourage entrepreneurs to just go for it, as you have nothing to lose.

“It was great to have a panel of judges questioning you on your Business Plan as it got you thinking again. It also opened my eyes to new business opportunities and it was fantastic to just take that time out to stand back and take a good look at your business.”

Stephen Dowling  –  Won Best Established Business Category 2015

Stephen runs a company – Dunmasc Genetics and works with farmers throughout the country to help them unlock the potential in their herds and make gains in terms of quality and productivity.

Stephen won the Best Established Business award in the 2015 IBYE competition and said of his participation, “The prize fund was great but there were even more gains for my business. The mentoring on my business plan was pivotal to my ongoing success as it really helped me focus on theright direction for my business.”

Stephen got a lot from bootcamps as it gave him time out to look at his business and focus in on where it needs to go and more importantly how it is going to get there.’ He highly recommended IBYE and says it is not all about the prize fund as there are so many other benefits in terms of personal development.

He said “IBYE will provide you with the opportunities to network with like-minded people and you will find the whole experience very productive for your business.”

SEE ALSO – All the details you need to know if you’re thinking of applying for IBYE

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