Carlow's "Best Young Entrepreneurs" for 2019 and €50,000 investment fund winners were announced at an awards ceremony hosted by Carlow County Council - Local Enterprise Office in Carlow Town Hall recently.
As part of a nationwide search launched by Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Pat Breen to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs (IBYE) for 2019, the six winners and runners-up were chosen from County Carlow local finalists and will now share a €50,000 investment fund.
IBYE, now in its fifth year, is a nationwide youth enterprise initiative to help 18-to-35 year olds with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business.
In 2019, 1,644 young entrepreneurs entered IBYE, which is an initiative of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and supported by Enterprise Ireland and local authorities.
The guest speaker for the final event was the inspiring Sinead Kane who is a qualified solicitor has two PhDs, has run marathons on all seven continents, and holds two Guinness World Records who in sharing her inspirational story telling.
She said: "People are often really focused on the end goal but really it is about the journey you go on to grow."
The presentation party for the awards was Cathaoirleach Cllr Brian O’Donoghue, Kathleen Holohan, chief executive of Carlow County Council and Pauline Hoctor Senior Enterprise Development Officer with Carlow Council Council's – Local Enterpise Office.
Speaking prior to the presentation of the awards, Cllr O’Donoghue said: "In Carlow we are proud of our entrepreneurial community and having young people starting and developing their own business means that future jobs will be developed in our rural communities across the county.
"It has been widely acknowledged that giving a person a job or by a person creating their own job this provides all with a way to make a living, to provide for their family which is the foundation of communities across our county.
"By saying we are committed to supporting all our business community in the development of jobs for our county."
The "Best New Idea" category, with a €7,000 investment fund, was won by Craig O’Toole from Mortgage Pal. The runner-up award and €3,000 investment fund went to Julia Juga from Custom Mouthguards.
The winner of the "Best Start-Up Business" category and the €15,000 investment fund was Magdalena Pydych – Little Crew
The runner-up in this category, collecting a €5,000 investment fund, was Lorand Kertesz from KLT Engineering Solutions
Meanwhile, the title of "Best Established Business" with an investment fund of €15,000, went to David Bambrick from Equireel.
The runner-up in this category, scooping a €5,000 investment fund, was Amy Power from Hair & Beauty Chalet.
David Bambrick was also awarded the title of "Best Young Entrepreneur" for County Carlow.
In the lead-up to the county final, each finalist received targeted business supports through Local Enterprise Office County Carlow.
They attended an intensive Business Boot Camp, receiving mentoring and support on their business plans, pitch training as well as getting the opportunity to connect with other young entrepreneurs from County Carlow.
Kieran Comerford, Head of Enterprise with Carlow County Council's Local Enterprise Office, said: "As our winners clearly demonstrate, youth entrepreneurship is thriving here in County Carlow IBYE is about discovering local potential and nurturing that talent through financial supports, mentoring, training and networking opportunities.
"We want to build on that success by supportting Carlow’s young entrepreneurs today and into the future."
The county winners from County Carlow will now progress to the regional finals, which will be hosted in Carlow in June 2019 in the Step House in Borris.
In all, 24 national finalists will be selected at regional finals across the country to compete for the overall title of "Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur".
At the IBYE national final on Sunday, September 15 - which takes place at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin - a €100,000 investment fund will be awarded to winners.