Kieran Comerford is Head of Enterprise in the Local Enterprise Office Carlow
The search is on to find Carlow’s Best Young Entrepreneurs as part of IBYE (Ireland Best Young Entrepreneur) who will share in a local investment fund of €50,000 to help their business to start, develop and grow.
IBYE is Ireland’s most successful programme to celebrate Ireland’s young entrepreneurs, developed by the Local Enterprise Offices and in County Carlow is run by Carlow County Council’s – Local Enterprise Office with the support of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Enterprise Ireland
Now in its 5th year, the competition, which has an investment fund of €2 million nationally, is open to people between the ages of 18 and 35 with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business.
The closing date to enter this year’s competition is Friday, March 15, 2019. Entering is simple, with an online application system through www.ibye.ie.
LEO staff are on hand at the Carlow County Council – Local Enterprise Office if assistance is required in completing the application form.
Aileen McGrath, Senior Enterprise Development Officer with the Local Enterprise Office said: "Taking part in IBYE 2019 will help Carlow’s young entrepreneurs move their businesses to the next level with the support of their Local Enterprise Office, whatever stage their business is at - idea, start up or an established business.
"Other business supports, such as management training, networking and one-to-one mentoring are also at the heart of IBYE - so there is something for all young entrepreneurs, available right on their doorsteps through the Carlow LEO office."
Kathleen Holohan Chief Executive with Carlow County Council said: "The key to success to date has been that IBYE starts at local level and our young entrepreneurs then have the opportunity to go forward to regional and ultimately national awards, proudly representing their region.
"Through the network of 31 LEO Offices, the Local Authorities are very focused on supporting young entrepreneurs, ensuring that at grassroots level, any young person with a business idea is given every support and encouragement to start and grow their business, whatever stage their business is at.
"They are the future of our local economies, creating new businesses and providing vital sustainable local jobs in our communities."
Previous finalists William Power and Amy Power joined the launch and share their experiences with the programme.
Amy owner of the Hair and Beauty Chalet said: "IBYE was a fantastic experience for me personally and for my business and I couldn’t recommend the experience enough to anybody considering starting or developing their business who is under 35."
Amy contended that "in the IBYE process we learned so much from the team at Carlow LEO, our mentors and trainers and most importantly the network of peers who all travelled the IBYE journey together".
William Power who was overall winner in County Carlow in 2019 said that "the IBYE process really makes you think about your business and helps to work on the business as opposed to in the business which is of paramount importance to business success".
Power continued to say "since IBYE we have expanded our business and it continues to grow from strength to strength".
IBYE is a nationwide competition, run across three categories: Best Business Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business.
As part of the IBYE process, up to 450 young entrepreneurs will be invited by the LEOs to attend free regional ‘Entrepreneur Bootcamps’ later in the year to help them develop their businesses and new venture ideas.
With a local IBYE investment fund of €50,000 each, Carlow LEO will award up to six investments to three category winners and three runners-up at county level.
The local winners in the Best Start-Up and Best Established Business categories at county level will receive investments of up to €15,000 each and the two runners-up will each receive up to €5,000.
The Best Business Idea winner at county level will receive an investment of up to €7,000 and the runner-up will receive up to €3,000 of investment.
These winners in Carlow will progress to Regional Finals during the summer with the national IBYE finals taking place on September 15, 2019.
To enter, young entrepreneurs in Carlow between the ages of 18 and 35 should visit https://www.ibye.ie/submit-form