Yesterday afternoon (1st February) was the regional final for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE). Luckily for me it was held in our local Heritage Hotel so I didn’t have far to travel, unlike some of my fellow young entrepreneurs from Offaly, Westmeath and Kildare.
There were three finalists representing Laois : Francis Cosgrave of Sonrimor Limited in ‘best new idea’ category, Alan Meredith in ‘best startup’ category, and I was competing in the ‘best established business’ category.
read moreThere were some light refreshments and speakers before the serious business of the announcement of the regional winners by TV sports reporter Justin Treacy. There are 8 regional finals in total, one regional winner in each category going forward to the National finals in March.
You could feel the tension in the room as the county finalists in each category were announced.
The winner of the ‘best startup’ category was announced as Westmeath’s James Sherlock with his company Smart Business Analytics
Winner of ‘best startup’ was Kildare’s Jenny Reynolds with her company Topper Technologies
And surprisingly I won ‘best established business’!. I hardly had time to digest the news as we were whisked away for interviews and photographs with the press. Then we went in to a boardroom for the evening to hear all about the process of the final, what is going to be expected of us and the hard work that is ahead of us. Time is short as the finals are at the beginning of March so this month is going to be very, very busy. I’m very glad to have the Laois Local Enterprise Office to turn to for support.
Our business plans have to be submitted next week and then it’s all about getting ready for ‘the pitch’ (Think Dragon’s Den!) Some of the exciting things I have to look forward to are an appointment to meet the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and a visit to Google (yes!) for business training. The final on Sunday March 5th is held in Google – Can’t wait for that!
Find out more about IBYE here
On 14th December last I went to a lunch in the Heritage Hotel, Killenard hosted by Laois County Enterprise Board. The purpose of the lunch was to announce the Laois winners of the IBYE (Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur) competition.
The competition is open to all young entrepreneurs aged between 18 – 35. There were three categories : Best New Business Idea, Best Startup Business and Best Established Business.
In November I had qualified as a finalist and attended a weekend IBYE bootcamp. Some intense mentoring sessions followed and then I had to work on a pitch for my business and a business plan. I presented my business to the judges on December 7th. Read more
Imagine my surprise to find out that I had won in the best established business category! I was astonished to say the least, as I was up against stiff competition, amazing young entrepreneurs who I felt all deserved to win. I am thrilled enough to win the title, but I also won an investment of €15,000 for my business.
I am currently working on another pitch and business plan for the Regional Final which takes place this month.
I would highly recommend any young business people out there to apply next year. The bootcamp and the mentoring is invaluable. It is so good sometimes to just take a step back from the day to day running of your business and look at the business with an outside view.
I would like to thank Laois County Enterprise board for their support and Dick Whelan for his outstanding mentoring. I made great friends with the other contestants and look forward to following their successes.
You can read more about the other Laois IBYE winners here