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.

 

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There 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

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