News & Events

Judging day tomorrow for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs

The country’s best and brightest business talent will gather at the Department of Jobs in Dublin tomorrow (Thursday 2nd March, 2017) to compete for the title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE).

On judging day, the National Finalists will pitch their business plans to the judges ahead of the National IBYE Final which takes place at The Google Foundry in Dublin on Sunday 5th March. The final decision as to who will become Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur will be made by the judging panel at Sunday’s ceremony.

With a €2million investment fund, IBYE is open to entrepreneurs aged between 18 and 35, and is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide, supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.

A winner and runner-up will be selected in each of three IBYE categories and, along with the overall winner, will share in the €100,000 investment fund. There will also be a special award from Google for Best Promotion of Business On-line.

Welcoming the finalists to the Department of Jobs on Kildare Street, Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D., said: “This is an important milestone in the IBYE competition, and I wish everyone the very best of luck. All of you young entrepreneurs are shining examples of how Irish businesses can stand out and succeed in a highly competitive environment. This year’s competition has been a huge success with entries across a range of areas involving creativity, design, technology and innovation. I have had the pleasure of meeting all of the finalists along their IBYE journey and have been hugely inspired by their entrepreneurial talent and achievements.”

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Mr. Pat Breen T.D, said: “I wish every IBYE finalist the very best of luck as the judging gets underway. Across every region, Ireland is rich in young entrepreneurial talent and this is evident in the quality of entries again this year. I hope everyone who has taken part takes something positive from their experience, and will continue to benefit from the supports offered by their local LEO as their businesses develop and grow.”

Sheelagh Daly, speaking on behalf of the Local Enterprise Offices, said: “Through targeted enterprise initiatives, such as IBYE, we are encouraging more younger entrepreneurs to take advantage of the supports we offer. By benefitting from specialist training, mentoring and access to financial assistance, more young entrepreneurs, including those taking part in IBYE, can turn their enterprise vision into a successful business.”

The judging panel will be chaired by Paddy Flynn, Director of Trust and Safety with Google. He said: “Google has supported IBYE since the competition first started in 2014 to encourage as many young entrepreneurs as possible to start and grow their business wherever they are located. If it’s one thing we’ve seen in Google, it’s that international businesses can be born anywhere thanks to the opportunity of the digital marketplace.  This year’s national finalists include a range of businesses and business ideas that have the potential to be an international success and we are looking forward to meeting all the young entrepreneurs behind these businesses when judging gets underway.”

This year’s ‘Best Business Ideas’ feature a system that alerts beekeepers to diseases, biotechnology to find smart ways to feed the planet, a chair which reduces muscle tension and rapid tests to help GPs diagnose infectious diseases. This category also includes software for the insolvency industry, a mobile call manager app, an on-line tool to find the perfect game for gamers, and an app providing SMEs with a simple payment processing system.

Featuring in the ‘Best Start Up Business’ (trading less than 36 months) category are an app allowing local media to compete in the battle for global digital advertising spend, a system to allow people to publish their podcasts, low-carb street food meals and healthier frozen food alternatives. This category also includes a transport system to help people move around cities, an online database to find sub teachers for schools and a food incubator offering shared commercial kitchen space. There is also a business making software to transform data into business opportunities for companies.

The eight finalists in the ‘Best Established Business’ (trading more than 36 months) category feature a sports media platform that empowers sports fans to become paid journalists, software that helps in the fight against climate change and a handcrafted kitchen and furniture manufacturer. Also included are an app that helps people with Parkinson’s disease take control of their illness, a hand-held blood test that helps vets detect infections in horses, a jewellery maker and goldsmith, a specialist paint company and a commercial bakery that creates custom made cakes.

The other members of the judging panel, alongside Paddy Flynn of Google, are: Eugene Forde, Department of Jobs, Orla Martin, Head of Enterprise, LEO Offaly; Niall O’Donnellan, Enterprise Ireland; Brian Crowley, CEO of TTM Healthcare and Sarah Doyle, CEO of Kinesense. The contestants will be marked under criteria such as innovation, market opportunity, ability to deliver key commercial milestones, economic impact, and quality of application and business plan.

The IBYE National Final takes place this Sunday, 5th March, which is the first day of Local Enterprise Week, which runs until 10th March. Co-ordinated by the 31 LEOs, Local Enterprise Week will showcase the range of LEO supports available to small and micro businesses by hosting over 380 events nationwide. 

Competition updates and YouTube videos for each of the national finalists are available on


For all media queries, please contact: Engage Ireland                                             

Sarah Bohan on Tel: 01 427 8388 / 087 65 39936 / or Miriam Donohoe on Tel: 01 427 8388 / 087 2393914 / 

Photography and videography note: Reproduction free pictures and video footage of IBYE national finalists are available through Joe Keogh Photography.

Notes to Editor: 

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Competition (

Judging starts on Thursday, March 2nd 2017 at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and concludes with live pitches at the National IBYE Final on Sunday, March 5th 2017 at Google in Dublin.

IBYE: Facts & Figures

– A €2 million investment fund with targeted business development supports.

– 3 categories: Best Business Idea, Best Business Start-Up and Best Established Business.

– Co-ordinated by all 31 Local Enterprise Offices across the entire Local Authority Network.

– A record number of entries with 1,842 competitors, coming from every county in Ireland.

– 400+ places at Business Bootcamps.

– 180 local winners and runners-up, sharing investments of between €3,000 and €15,000 each.

– 8 Regional Finals.

– Investment fund of €100,000 for national winners and runners-up.

And 24 national finalists competing for the overall title of “Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur” on Sunday, March 5th 2017.

IBYE: National Finalists

Best Business Idea Category (pre-trading)

LEO Cork North and West: Fiona Edwards Murphy of ApisProtect (age 25)

A ground-breaking IoT (Internet of Things) system that alerts beekeepers about diseases and pest threatening bee colonies all over the world.

LEO Meath: Alvan Hunt of Hexafly (age 26)

Cutting-edge biotechnology, finding smart ways to feed the planet by converting by-products from insects.

LEO Clare: Damien Mason of FlexiBod (age 35)

A special chair which reduces muscle tension and increases mobility after just 20 minutes of sitting.

LEO Dublin City: Brian Henderson of Baon Diagnostics (age 26)

Rapid tests to help GPs diagnose infectious diseases, reducing the use of antibiotics by accurately differentiating between viral and bacterial infections.

LEO Donegal: Gillian Doyle of Cerebreon Technologies (age 34)

Software that automates many of the paper-heavy and time-consuming processes that exist in the insolvency industry.

LEO Roscommon: Desmond Dolan of MistCalls (age 27)

An innovative mobile call manager that saves business people time and money by adding context to missed calls, and offering a number of organisational features.

LEO Wicklow: Cathal O’Sullivan of GameX (age 24)

A powerful online tool that recommends the perfect game for “gamers” by analysing their previous playing history and stats across all devices.

LEO Kildare: Jenny Reynolds of Topper Technology (age 33)

An app providing SMEs with a simple payment processing system which will help overcome their biggest problem - getting paid.

Best Start-Up Business Category (trading for up to 36 months)

LEO Kerry: Derek Counihan of Harpoon (age 33)

A mobile app allowing regional, local and hyper-local media to compete against national players in the battle for global digital advertising spend.

LEO South Cork: Mark Moriarty of Awesound (age 27)

A unique system that lets anyone publish their podcasts or audiobooks via existing apps through targeted advertising or by selling directly to listeners.

LEO Louth: Roisin Hogan of HIRO by Roisin (age 35)

Serving up delicious, low-carb and low-calorie Japanese and Asian inspired street food, unlike anything else in the supermarket.

LEO Dublin City: Samuel Dennigan of Strong Roots (age 31)

Healthy, premium, and delicious alternatives that are revolutionising the frozen food sector.

LEO Longford: Brian O’Rourke of CitySwifter (age 26)

The first transport system in the world which empowers people to control how they move around cities by allowing them match journey requests online with other travelers.

LEO Roscommon: Kyle McLoughlin of Posude (age 28)

An online database for post-primary school principals to search for teachers to fill substitute classroom positions.

LEO Wicklow: Shane Bonner of Newmarket Kitchen (age 34)

A food incubator which provides shared commercial kitchen space and business supports for emerging Irish food businesses.

LEO Westmeath: James Sherlock of Smart Business Analytics (age 34)

Software to analyse and transform data into business opportunities for companies.

Best Established Business Category (trading for over 36 months)

LEO South Cork: Richard Barrett of Pundit Arena (age 27)

A sports media platform that empowers sports fans to become paid journalists through a unique revenue sharing model known as the Hit List.

LEO Limerick: Adrian Fleming of Accuvio (age 33)

A cloud-based software that allows large organisations help in the fight against climate change by tracking their carbon footprint.

LEO Meath: Barry Goulding of BSG Design (age 33)

Manufactures and installs exquisite handcrafted bespoke kitchens, joinery and furniture for both the domestic and commercial markets.

LEO Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown: Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical (age 26)

An app that helps people with Parkinson’s Disease take control of their illness by addressing mobility, speech and fine hand movement issues.

LEO Sligo: Heinrich Anhold of StableLab (age 35)

A revolutionary, hand-held blood test that helps vets detect infections in horses in minutes, even before physical symptoms are apparent.

LEO Mayo: Nigel O’Reilly of Nigel O’Reilly Goldsmith (age 35)

Pushing the boundaries of design by creating unique, hand-crafted jewellery from gold and other raw materials.

LEO Carlow: Kate Gaynor of Advanced Coatings (age 33)

A specialist paint company bringing high performance Scandinavian paints into the Irish market, for use by agricultural and industrial machinery manufacturers.

LEO Laois: Kelly Ging of Kelly Lou Cakes (age 28)

A commercial bakery that creates custom-made cakes, cupcakes and other sweet treats for consumers and corporate clients, using the best quality ingredients with no preservatives.