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Investment funding on offer for Ireland’s young established entrepreneurs

Last year’s ‘best established’ national finalist uses investment funding from competition to break into Scandinavia and Middle East.

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition is seeking young entrepreneurs aged 18-35 with a business idea, a new start-up, or an established business, to enter by 14th October.

The IBYE ‘Best Established Business’ category is aimed at young entrepreneurs who have led their businesses for more than 36 months and is one of three categories in the IBYE competition. The other IBYE categories are ‘Best Business Idea’ and ‘Best Start-up Business’

Speaking about IBYE, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said: “It is our nation’s young people who will create the jobs of the future and I want more of our young people to make running a business a career choice. So, be brave, this is the opportunity to realise your dream. IBYE offers funding investment and mentoring to young and ambitious entrepreneurs which has proven to be invaluable to previous entrants. I would encourage all between 18 and 35, and in particularly those with established businesses, to grasp the opportunity that IBYE offers and get your application to by the 14th October deadline.”  

A 21-year-old entrepreneur who reached Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) national final last year, is using her investment winnings from the competition to break into new markets in Scandinavia and the Middle East this month.

Alicia Treanor is the Operations Director of Nutri-Snax in Cavan and the young food entrepreneur reached the national finals of the IBYE competition in the ‘Best Established Business’ category in 2015. She has used her IBYE winnings to invest in new food production equipment and manufacturing has started on a new snack line for export. She’s now calling on more established entrepreneurs, aged 35 or younger, to enter this year’s €2 million IBYE competition before the October 14th deadline.

According to Treanor, participating in the IBYE competition has had lots of benefits for her business. She said: “IBYE has opened many doors for my business and we are now recognised as a growing Irish food brand as a result. We have used funding from the competition to invest in new food production equipment to make a new type of vegetable snack. This is the first product of its kind being produced in Ireland and we already have distributors in place throughout Scandinavia and in countries like Kuwait, Israel and Iran.”

Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices said: “Once a company successfully comes through the start-up phase, growing an established business presents its own unique set of challenges. In addition to the significant investment funding on offer through the IBYE competition, every Local Enterprise Office will be inviting young entrepreneur entrants, including young established business owners, to take part in regional Business Bootcamps, with access to expert guidance and mentoring to help them overcome these challenges.”

With a €2million investment fund available overall, IBYE, now in its third year, is supporting young ambitious entrepreneurs right around the country. As well as the direct financial investment on offer to the winners of IBYE, hundreds of participants also benefit from IBYE boot camps, mentoring, marketing and other supports. IBYE attracted 1,400 applications across the country last year.

Every Local Enterprise Office has a total IBYE county investment fund of up to €50,000. The winner of the Best Established Business category in each county will receive up to €15,000 with the runner-up receiving up to €5,000. A similar amount is available for the county winner and runner-up in the Best Start-up Business category, while a total of up to €10,000 is available for each county winner and runner-up in the Best Business Idea category.

The overall winners of IBYE across the three categories at national level share an investment fund of up to €100,000. Last year’s national winner in the Best Established Business category was James Keogh of Rathwood Home & Garden in Co, Wicklow, which welcomes 300,000 visitors every year to its store and family events.

Further information and details about the IBYE competition are available from the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide, through and from the IBYE website at


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Notes to Editor:

IBYE ‘Best Established’ National Finalist 2015

Alicia Treanor, age 21, of Nutri-Snax in Cavan (National Finalist 2015, Best Established Business Category)

Nutri-Snax was set up in 2011 to manufacture breakfast cereals, lower fat biscuits and vegetarian crisps for the retail and food service sectors. The company employs six people and is starting production on a new product line (a vegetable snack) in October 2016, for export to Scandinavia and the Middle East.

IBYE ‘Best Established’ National Category Winner 2015

James Keogh, age 30, of Rathwood Home & Garden in Co. Wicklow (Winner of 2015 IBYE Best Established Business National Category)

James took over the running of Rathwood from his parents in 2009. Employing 77 people full-time with 160 part-time and seasonal staff, Rathwood has become a ‘destination’ store, restaurant and activity provider located on the Wicklow/Carlow border. Famous for its themed events, such as the Santa Train, Rathwood welcomes 300,000 visitors every year.

Photography Note: High resolution reproduction-free images are available through Mark Stedman of Stedman Photography (taken in September 2016)

About IBYE

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is a programme that is open to people between the ages of 18 (at date of application) and 35 (at 31st December 2016) with an innovative business idea, including:• individuals• venture teams• partnerships• existing businesses with a new idea• people overseas (including Irish emigrants) who will headquarter in IrelandEach Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is running a competition in each county (Friday October 14th closing date) aimed at finding winners in each of the three categories as well as an overall county winner. Each LEO will have 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. The three categories are as follows:

  • Best Business Idea (pre-trading) – up to €10,000 investment fund through every LEO (€7,000 for category winner and €3,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)Best Start-Up Business (up to 36 months), with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)Best Established Business (over 36 months) with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)

The county winners will then proceed to eight regional finals from which 24 contenders (three from each region – one in each category) will be selected to compete for the national title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. A further €100,000 investment fund will be available to invest in the winners of the three categories at the national final, one of which will also be named with the prestigious title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.