27 September 2016
By Elaine Murphy
The search is on to find Cork’s best and brightest young business people, with €150,000 up for grabs through the three Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) in Cork as part of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition.
The campaign has just been launched in Cork, and has been extended to those aged between 18 and 35, with an innovative and original idea or concept for a product or service that is either at start up or early development stage.
The three LEOs in Cork – LEO Cork City, LEO South Cork, and LEO Cork North and West – are each running the competition, looking for entrepreneurs who “Stand Out” from the crowd, and entries are invited up until Friday, October 14th. There are three categories which comprise of ‘Best New Idea’, with a top prize of €7,000 and a runner up prize of €3,000; ‘Best Start Up Business’ (up to 36 months); and ‘Best Established Business’, that each have €15,000 in prize money for winners and €5,000 each for the runners up, in each of the three LEOs.
Now in its third year, the IBYE competition in Cork has unearthed a wealth of young entrepreneurs, who their respective LEOs work with to nurture and support. The €50,000 investment fund from each LEO is just one of ways in which it helps to encourage and help young people to realise their dream of owning and developing their own business.
15 finalists will be selected from each LEO in Cork, with the 45 finalists then going forward to participate in an intensive Business Boot Camp that will be held in Cork from November 4th to 6th. This is seen as an invaluable opportunity for participants as they will receive mentoring and supports from experts to help them to fine tune their business strategies and enterprise skills.
The second phase of the competition will see the selection at a county final in December of three winners per LEO, who will go forward to represent their LEO in regional finals; and if successful there, they will fly the Cork flag at national finals to find ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ which has an overall investment fund of €2 million in early 2017.
The competition, which has a simple online application form available on www.ibye.ie, aims to encourage and support a culture of entrepreneurship among young people, to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage the establishment and development of new and innovative businesses by Ireland’s young entrepreneurs.
Adrienne Rodgers, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Cork City said: “We are looking for young and aspiring entrepreneurs and business ideas that really stand out. The IBYE competition gives budding business people a real opportunity to launch and grow their business with the investment fund that’s available to winners, not to mention the expert advice and business support that is offered.
Last year’s competition was a huge success with hundreds of brilliant entries so we anticipate that the interest and entries will be even greater this year. Cork produced the overall winner of IBYE last year in James Foody, founder of Ayda, who won a further €50,000 investment at the national final; and we’re hoping we can make it two in a row this year!”
Adrienne continued “Encouraging entrepreneurship among young people is hugely important for job-creation as two thirds of all new jobs are generated by businesses in the first five years of existence – more start-ups and a thriving entrepreneurial culture will lead to more jobs being created. We would encourage all those aged between 18 and 35, who have an idea or a business to enter this year’s competition so that we can help them with the fundings and supports to bring their business to the next level.”
Last year’s winners were Breffney O’Dowling Keane, FruitCubed, Gail Condon, Writing for Tiny, and Jack Crotty, The Rocket Man from LEO Cork City; Patrick Corrigan, Musica, James Foody, Ayda, and Stephanie Lynch, On the QT from LEO South Cork; and Maeve O’Keeffe, Inspect 4, Stephen Murphy, Ride-On, and Aimie Musgrave, Crunch from LEO Cork North & West.
The closing date for applications is Friday, October 14th. For more information or to apply, call (021) 4961828 or visit www.ibye.ie, and follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter using #StandOut.