Three local business owners and new start-ups from Cork City, all under the age of 30, have gone head-to-head with other winners from South Cork, Cork North and West and Waterford at the regional final of ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition.
Although none of the Cork City finalists made it through to December’s national final, they all share a €50,000 investment fund through the Local Enterprise Office, from the county final stage of the competition.
The nominees were all interviewed by a three member judging panel and had to deliver a business pitch, live. Assessed on criteria such as business innovation, job creation potential and financial planning, the announcement of the national finalists was made at a reception in Corrin Events Centre, Fermoy with special guest Sean Sherlock, TD. Other guests at the Regional Final included Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork City Cllr Mick Nugent and Deputy Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe.
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. said: “Central to our plans for jobs and growth is supporting more businesses to start-up. Part of this plan is also fostering a stronger culture of entrepreneurship and promoting start-up business as a career option for young people. That is what is behind this competition to find the best young entrepreneur in each region, and ultimately Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. I am delighted to congratulate all involved.”
More than 400 business owners and start-ups from around the country have already benefitted from intensive business bootcamps and mentoring programmes through the network of Local Enterprise Offices, as part of the competition.
The Head of Enterprise with the Local Enterprise Office Cork City, Ms Adrienne Rodgers said: “We are very proud and honoured to have had such strong contenders in this year’s ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition, especially when you consider that over 1,000 small business owners entered this year. I’d like to congratulate all our nominees and entrants, who ‘flew the flag’ for us at county and regional finals and we look forward to supporting their businesses into the future.”
The three young entrepreneurs representing the county at the Regional Final were:
From left to right: Jack Crotty, The Rocket Man; Gail Condon, Writing for Tiny; Sean Sherlock, TD; Deputy Mayor of Cork City Cllr Mick Nugent; Yvonne Leo, Local Enterprise Office, Cork City; Breffney O’Dowling-Keane, FruitCubed.
Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition is an integral part of the Action Plan for Jobs and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through the 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country.