The search for County Carlow’s best young entrepreneurs is underway


“We are looking for young entrepreneurs that have a “can do” spirit” was the message from Carlow County Council’s Chief Executive Kathleen Holohan at the local launch of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is a national competitive process which has a €2 million investment fund to support young entrepreneurs, aged between 18 and 35. Speaking about the programme, Holohan said “Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups, so if we are to help create an environment to create jobs we must support more entrepreneurs to start new businesses. That is why Carlow County Council have placed a heavy emphasis on economic development and business support over the past number of years"

The competition is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs), including LEO Carlow with the support of the Department of Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.

There are three categories: Best Business Idea; Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business.

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 business ideas.

With an IBYE investment fund of €50,000, LEO Carlow will award up to six investments to three category winners and three runners-up.
The local winners in the Best Start-Up and Best Established Business categories will receive investments of up to €15,000 each and the runners-up will each receive up to €5,000.

The Best Business Idea winner will receive an investment of up to €7,000 and the runner-up will receive up to €3,000.

These winners at county level will progress to regional finals early next year and the national IBYE finals will be held in March 2018.

"The substantial investments available under IBYE are a very important part of the programme and will help more young entrepreneurs here locally to grow their businesses and create more jobs. Other business supports, such as management training, networking and one-to-one mentoring are also at the heart of IBYE," said Kieran Comerford, Head of Enterprise with Carlow County Council’s – Local Enterprise Office

"Last year, 450 young entrepreneurs all over the country benefited from these business supports and 180 of them won investment funding to help start and grow their own businesses, so the rewards are there for participants, as well as for the winners," said Mr. Comerford

Speaking about the awards Declan Doyle – Head of Development for IT Carlow said “IT Carlow is delighted to be once again working with LEO Carlow to promote and drive the enterprise agenda in County Carlow. IBYE is just one way we can work in partnership to develop a dynamic enterprise base using the strengths of IT Carlow and the enterprise resources available from the Local Enterprise Office Carlow”

Member of the judging panel for 2017 Yvonne Jones – President of County Carlow Chamber said “IBYE really provides a platform for young entrepreneurs to develop their idea or business to the next level”, O’Toole continued to say “we are delighted as Carlow Chamber to use the collective connections of Chamber members to enhance this programme”.

Cllr William Paton, Cathaoirleach with Carlow County Council said ““Now more than ever before, Local Authorities are connecting with young and aspiring entrepreneurs, through our LEOs. We are very keen to ensure that anyone with a good idea for a business is given the necessary encouragement and support every step of the way.

There is a wealth of innovative thinking among our bright and increasingly confident young population. It is very important that we harness this resource to encourage enterprise locally. This will in turn create much needed sustainable employment and economic wealth throughout the country.”
At the launch were last year’s winners Dylan Scully from MatchDay, Gary Flannery from Adrenaline HPL and Kate Gaynor from Advanced Coatings who were joined by the representatives from IT Carlow, Carlow Chamber and the Local Enterprise Office. The County Final will be held on 5th December 2017.
To enter, local entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 should visit  to submit their applications online. The closing date for entries is Friday, 29th September 2017. There are no entry fees.