An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, met 24 finalists from Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur at Government Buildings in Dublin yesterday.
The finalists had the opportunity to discuss their businesses and ideas with An Taoiseach and Minister Humphreys ahead of the IBYE Final which will take place on 4th March. The IBYE programme is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) with the support of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.
The 24 IBYE Finalists for 2018 will be competing for a €100,000 fund across the three categories. The winner of the Best Business Idea will receive a €15,000 investment with the runner up securing a €5,000 investment. The Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business winners will receive a €25,000 investment each with the runners up in those categories receiving a €5,000 investment, while the 2018 Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur selected from the three category winners will receive an additional €20,000 investment.
This year’s IBYE finalists include a self learning anti-fraud software solution, an app that solves the issue of secure transactions with strangers when selling online, a peer to peer car rental platform, a solution to the compilation, visualisation and relay of IoT (Internet of Things) data, a company guaranteeing 90-minute deliveries, a former Connacht rugby player designing the future of gyms, a virtual power plant and a John Rocha protege bringing catwalk style to Irish cyclists.
Speaking today, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar said, "The IBYE programme is the first step on that road for many businesses and the range of innovative projects put forward by this year's finalists illustrates the wealth of talent and creativity in this country. The competition is really worthwhile for all involved; last year 180 young entrepreneurs secured funding for their businesses through the IBYE process, giving them the chance to grow their ideas and continue on their path."
He added, "I would like to congratulate each of the 24 finalists for making it this far. This is not only a great achievement for each of them individually, but the quality of their ideas assures me that the future of Irish entrepreneurship is in safe hands."