The 24 inspiring finalists from around the country who will battle it out in the National Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition have been unveiled by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny today.
A record 1,842 young entrepreneurs, aged between 18 and 35, have taken part in this year’s IBYE. The competition has progressed through county and regional stages where 24 young entrepreneurs have now emerged as national IBYE finalists and will compete for the prestigious title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.
The IBYE Final takes place at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin on Sunday, 5th March.
The Taoiseach met the 24 finalists at Government buildings today before the young entrepreneurs travelled to a pitch training session at Google. Also joining the Taoiseach for the unveiling were Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. and Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D.
IBYE is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. The initiative carries a total investment fund of €2 million.
Already, 180 young entrepreneurs and business owners have benefitted from their participation in the earlier stages of the competition, receiving investments of between €3,000 and €15,000 each.
At the National Final, the overall winners and runners-up in the three IBYE categories – Best Business Idea, Best Start-up and Best Established Business will be announced and one of the three national category winners will be crowned ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’.
Speaking today, the Taoiseach said, "I am overwhelmed and inspired by the entrepreneurial talent that I have encountered here today. In this fast-moving world, there can be no standing still and we must always stay ahead of the curve in terms of business. It is vital that we nurture our young businesspeople, encourage them, and give them supports as they strive to make an impact and to succeed."