Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s best young entrepreneurs have been announced at the County Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which took place in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dún Laoghaire last night.
IBYE, which has a €2 million investment fund, is run by all 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.
The overall Best Young Entrepreneur for the county was named by Local Enterprise Office Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown as Ciara Clancy (26), founder of Beats Medical in Sandyford. The business has developed an app that enables people with Parkinson’s to take greater control of their condition. Ciara also won the category for Best Established Business and an investment fund from the Local Enterprise Office worth €15,000.
In the Best Start-Up category, Gianni Clifford (25) took first prize of €15,000 for his Dún Laoghaire-based company Fillit, an online platform that connects people with spaces while Aidan Kilgannon (32) of Stillorgan took first prize of €7,000 in the Best Business Idea category for his personal fitness product, AK Rock. All three category winners will now represent Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County at one of eight IBYE Regional Finals, taking place during January and February 2017 from which 24 national finalists will be selected.
Meanwhile, three category runners-up shared an investment of €13,000. They were Grace O’ Rourke (27) of óR Quine Equestrian in the Best Business Idea category; Caolan Cullen (23) of Arctic Stone Ice-Cream in the Best Business Start-Up category and finally, Cora Murphy (32) of The Care Team in the Best Established Business category.
The Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Cllr. Cormac Devlin, presented the winners with their awards, commenting
Each of our winning businesses is richly deserving of the recognition they each received at our awards ceremony last evening. Our 15 finalists represent excellent role models for anyone who is thinking of starting a business in from their late teens to their early thirties.
Special Guest of Honour at the IBYE County Final, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Ms. Mary Mitchell O' Connor T.D., said:
“I am absolutely thrilled to be here with you all for the final of the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown IBYE competition. It is clear to me that entrepreneurship is truly alive and well and thriving in this county. In this third year of IBYE, we have had an amazing response nationally with a record breaking 1,800 entries. It is also very encouraging to note that the number of entries from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown has also increased by over a third on last year. I want to congratulate all those who entered this year’s competition and the very best of luck to all category winners from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown as they prepare to fly the flag for the county at the Dublin Regional Final of the competition on 25th January".
Dearbhla Lawson Director of Economic Community and Cultural Development at Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council commented, “IBYE provides a real opportunity to identify and showcase the very best in our young entrepreneurs in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, and we were delighted with the standard of talent and innovation for IBYE 2016. Businesses such as these are so important to our local economy as two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups and entrepreneurs such as these.”
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