South Dublin’s best young entrepreneurs announced

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South Dublin’s best young entrepreneurs have been announced at the County Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which took place in the Local Enterprise Offices in County Hall last night, November 31st.

Each LEO has a total fund of up to €50,000 to invest in six businesses (three category winners and three runners-up) according to criteria including businesses’ investment needs with the competition open to young entrepreneurs aged 18-35.

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 South Dublin as Aonghus Shortt, age 30 from Food Marble in Glendown Drive, Templeogue.

The entrepreneur also won the category for Best-Start-Up Business and an investment fund from LEO South Dublin worth €15,000

The other main category winners on the day were Darragh Mason of Dublin Mountain Design from Boden Park in the Best New Idea category, and Kyle McLoughlin of Irish Garage Equipment based in Rathcoole in the Best Established Business category.

The top prize in the Best New Idea category was €7000, with a top prize of €15000 for the Best Established Business category.

The six winners, left to right; Darragh Mason, Kyle McLoughlin, Aonghus Shortt, Sarah Kiely, Keith Downey and Gary O'Toole.
The six winners, left to right; Darragh Mason, Kyle McLoughlin, Aonghus Shortt, Sarah Kiely, Keith Downey and Gary O’Toole.

All three category winners will now be representing the County at one of eight IBYE Regional Finals, taking place during January and February 2017.

Meanwhile, the category runners-up also shared an investment of €13,000 between their three businesses.

They were: Gary O’Toole, 27, of Kickabout based in the Synergy Centre, IT Tallaght in the Best New Idea category; Sarah Kiely, 29, of Sadie’s Kitchen in Walkinstown in the Best Start-Up category and finally, Keith Downey, 31, of Platinum Group based in Clondalkin in the Best Established Business category.

Colm Ward is the Head of the Local Enterprise Office South Dublin and he said:

“We started the search to find Ireland’s best young entrepreneur in August and the competition received a record-breaking number of entries this year locally and nationally, with 1,800 young entrepreneurs applying nationally.

“After a very successful IBYE bootcamp and County Final, the future is bright for both youth entrepreneurship and job creation in the region.”

The vital role of the judging panel was also acknowledged by awards MC Councillor Charlie O’Connor, with this year’s judges including: Eamon Keane of Xpreso Software Ltd, Niamh Sherwin Barry of the Irish fairy Door Company, along with Colm Ward and Des English of the Local Enterprise Office.

The Regional Finals for IBYE are taking place in January and February 2017, to select 24 national finalists across the three competition categories.

Further details on the competition and supports available to young entrepreneurs are available through www.localenterprise.ie and from the IBYE website at www.ibye.ie.