News & Events

Government unveils Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs as it publishes latest Action Plan for Jobs progress report

The Government today unveiled the 24 young entrepreneurs who have reached the national finals of “Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur” as we reach the final stages of the annual competition which this year attracted 1400 applicants between the ages of 18 and 30 (40% increase on last year)

The 24 finalists, including for the first time two Irish entrepreneurs living overseas looking to set up their businesses in Ireland, come from 17 different counties and a range of sectors including fashion, retail, food, technology and life sciences. The young Irish overseas were specifically targeted in this year’s initiative.

The announcement came as the Government published the Action Plan for Jobs 14th and 15th Progress Reports at an event in Government Buildings this morning. The Progress Report, part of the monitoring process put in place when the Action Plan for Jobs was first launched in February 2012, showing that 159 out of 192 actions scheduled for implementation in Q2 and Q3 2015 were delivered. Among the measures delivered are included:

  • Regions – published and started implementing regional jobs plans in so far 5 of the 8 regions, part of the €250million regional strategy, targeting delivery of a combined total of 127,000 extra jobs over the coming years (in the plans published so far)
  • Regions – launched a €10million initiative through the LEOs to support more start-up businesses in every county, and launched call for expressions of interest in €40million regional enterprise fund
  • Skills – rolled out an additional 1,061 places on core ICT courses at NFQ levels 8-9
  • Manufacturing – measures to support more manufacturing SMEs to improve productivity, including a €10million capital investment fund and a new LEAN programme – 15 companies have benefited so far; published a guide on manufacturing supports
  • R&D – launched the SFI Investigators Programme 2015, helping to develop a world-class research capability in STEM areas; approved additional funding for the National Institute for Bioprocess Research and Training (NIBRT) to invest in R&D in biologics drugs
  • Start-ups – €500k fund to attract international start-ups to Ireland, Start-Up Gathering programme of events across the country
  • Infrastructure – Government Capital Plan published, including €3billion of supports for enterprise
  • Making work pay – Low Pay Commission Report and Government response, Collective Bargaining and REA legislation passes all stages
  • Launched the Living Cities Initiative, aimed at rejuvenating eligible areas of Kilkenny, Galway, Waterford, Limerick, Cork and Dublin
  • Launched Eircode, the new National Post Code system
  • Finalised and published Enterprise 2025, 10-year strategic jobs plan. 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: "The Action Plan for Jobs is an important part of our effort to keep up the momentum on job creation as we work towards our target of reducing unemployment down to 6% by 2020. Over 1,000 new jobs a week were added to the economy in 2015 and we need to keep this momentum up so that we can keep the recovery going. I expect that, with our continued focus on the domestic and regional recovery, at least another 50,000 new jobs will be added to the economy in 2016 and that we will see more Irish people returning home than leaving. "The domestic and regional economy was prioritised this year for new initiatives to spread the benefits of recovery around the country. One of the best innovations arising from the Action Plan for Jobs, and in recognition of the need to support young Irish entrepreneurship, is the development of the Best Young Entrepreneur competition organised by the Local Enterprise Offices. It is inspirational to see these young business leaders develop new ideas and create new jobs. This is just one example of how we are going to push on to deliver full employment."

Tánaiste Joan Burton TD said: “The central focus of this Government has always been about jobs, and that focus is showing positive results. This week’s figures, which show unemployment has fallen below 9%, represent a landmark moment for our recovery. But we have more to do to bring down unemployment further, to invest further in our workforce, and to ensure work pays. Through the Action Plan for Jobs and Pathways to Work we will continue our progress to full employment, and to a social recovery for all our people.”

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said: “Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups – that is why we have placed at the very heart of the Action Plan for Jobs our drive to encourage more people to start up new businesses. One key aspect of this is the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition – in its second year running, this is a great initiative to celebrate our amazing young business-people and provide real tangible support to them as they expand their businesses and ultimately create 1, 2, 10, or 50 extra jobs.

“IBYE is a great example of what we are trying achieve through the Action Plan for Jobs. On its own it will not solve our jobs crisis. However by placing it into the Plan, subject to reporting mechanisms and oversight from the Taoiseach, we can be sure it will be implemented. And taken together with thousands of other actions which we have implemented through the Plan over recent years, it will help rebuild an economy based on real enterprises, innovation and exports – and create the jobs we need”.


For further information, please contact:

Press Office, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation ph. 6312200 or



The Action Plan for Jobs 14th Progress Report is available at: Action Plan for Jobs 2015 Second Progress Report

The Action Plan for Jobs 15th Progress Report is available at: Action Plan for Jobs 2015 Third Progress Report

Later this morning the Taoiseach and Minister Bruton will hold a meeting in Government Buildings with all 24 national finalists to discuss their businesses/business ideas, and will hold a photocall to unveil them to the media. The national final will be held in Google on Sunday 6th December.

1,400 young Irish entrepreneurs, all aged between 18 and 30, participated in the 2015 ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition, which is being run by the Local Enterprise Offices. 24 finalists from 17 counties have now made it to the December national final at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin. 

For this year’s competition, young Irish people who have emigrated in recent years were encouraged to apply, with a view to setting up their businesses in Ireland. Applications were received from forty young Irish entrepreneurs, based in countries such as the USA, UK, Italy, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. Two of this year’s international applicants have made it through to December’s national final. 

Launched in May this year by An Taoiseach and Minister Bruton and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the nationwide competition forms part of the Action Plan for Jobs, with a total €2million fund available to county winners and overall national winners, who each can win a total of up to €70,000 investment in their business.

Affordable diagnostics for neglected tropical diseases, a mobile app for e-Books and a medical device for bowel cancer patients are among the eight ideas shortlisted in the ‘Best Business Idea’ category. 

Meanwhile, a wearable fertility tracker for women, healthy convenient foods and an equestrian data analytics company all made the final eight in the ‘Best Start Up Business’ category. 

The final eight in the ‘Best Established Business’ category feature a fashion milliner, speciality retailers and a furniture-maker. 

The three category winners all have a chance to be crowned Ireland’s overall ‘Best Young Entrepreneur’, sharing the €100,000 national final investment fund. 

Further updates about ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ and YouTube videos for each of the national finalists are available through or by searching #ibye on social media. 

The official IBYE channel on YouTube is Videos generated by many of the finalists showcasing their businesses are available at this link. 

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition is run by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in the Local Authorities Network, and the winners at county level are eligible for an investment in their business of up to €20,000, while the winners at national level can receive an additional investment of up to €50,000. Winners of individual categories can also win additional investments in their businesses. 

Mentoring, marketing and other supports are also available to participating businesses at various stages of the competition. The competition is open to individuals aged 30 and under and will be judged under three distinct categories:

  • Best Business Idea (best idea for a new business)
  • Best Start-Up Business (in business for up to 24 months or less)
  • Best Established Business (in business for longer than 24 months). 

The first stage was a county-based competition (run by the 31 LEOs) which led to the naming of the Best Young Entrepreneur in each county. This stage also included bootcamps and mentoring programmes. This was followed by eight regional finals. At the national final, one businessperson will be crowned Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. 

National Finalists: Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs 2015


Local Enterprise Office





Blaine Doyle


A diagnostics company that uses molecular science to provide a more economical method of diagnosing neglected tropical diseases.



Niall McGonigle

McGonigle Industries


Designs medical products, specifically N-Tech – a medical device that will improve colostomy patients’ lives.


Liam Sexton


A mobile app that allows users to convert images into fully-scaled CAD drawings through their smartphones.


Chris Murphy

Blue Drop Medical

Develops technology capable of remotely detecting and monitoring foot ulcers in patients with diabetes.


Peter Hunt


Develops new technology for taxi drivers, which will improve workflow, manage fleet and optimise overall operations.


Andrew Nadin

Dooskey Irish Whiskey

Distils a range of flavoured Irish Whiskies aimed at the young adult market, with a focus on innovation.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown in Dublin

Curtis Moran


A mobile app to provide location-based free access to e-Books for users.


Conor Devlin


Software that enables journalists and bloggers to create and place opinion polls on their articles or websites.


Local Enterprise Office





Diarmuid Byrne


Equestrian data analytics company for national and international clients in the sport of eventing.


Niall Mimnagh

Mimergy Ltd

Develops sustainable technology which converts waste tyres into valuable commodities, such as fuels and chemicals.

South Cork

James Foody


A wearable fertility tracker for women, worn during sleep to pinpoint their exact basal body temperature.


Daniel Loftus

Urban Fox

A mobile app that helps marketing teams analyse customer and behavioural data more efficiently.


Philip Martin

Blanco Nino

Europe’s first authentic gluten-free corn tortilla manufacturer for the food service and retail sectors.


Mark Reilly

Aphix Software

Software for the warehousing industry, delivering real-time stock and pricing information to sales representatives and customers.

Dublin City

Isolde Johnson

The Cool Bean Company

A consumer food brand which includes a range of healthy, nutritious, gluten-free bean meals in a pot.


David Carey


A lifestyle nutrition company, manufacturing healthy food and drink products for the retail sector.


Local Enterprise Office





James Keogh


A retail entertainment company with over 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, outdoor activities with a year-round events schedule for families.


Jennifer Wyrnne

Jennifer Wyrnne Ltd

A milliner within the fashion industry, designing and creating high quality, hand -crafted hats and head pieces.


Eddy Lynch

Suir Sprayers

A company that specialises in the testing, selling and servicing of sprayer parts nationwide, for the horticultural and agricultural sectors.


Oz Ibrahmi


A product research and development company for the medical sector, specialising in CNC machines (computer numerical control).


Mark Sheahan

Recycle Right

A waste collection and recycling business for households, which uses innovative software solutions.


Alicia Treanor

Nutri-Snax Ltd

Develops, manufactures and distributes a range of nutritious, healthy snacks and biscuits for the food sector.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown in Dublin

Peter Roberts

Roberts of Dalkey

Wholesaler and retailer of fresh Irish seafood, with four retail locations.


Tim Dunleavy

Dunleavy Bespoke

Design and create contemporary handcrafted furniture and interiors, exported worldwide.