Wednesday 17 January 2018

Bloggers and social media players battle it out for title of Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur - and €100,000 prize

Clare Cullen, Influencer Connect
Clare Cullen, Influencer Connect
Erika Fox, 5A Digital
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Influencer Connect, an online marketplace that links social media influencers with brands, is among the 20 shortlisted in the ‘Best Idea’ category of Enterprise Ireland’s best idea competition in the overall Dublin region.

YouTuber 'Clisare', real name Clare Cullen, is aiming to go as far as possible after reaching the final three in the ‘Best Idea’ category of Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur competition for the South-Dublin region.

Mayo-born Clare Cullen, who is in the final three in the South-Dublin constituency, says that her idea has huge scope across Ireland and the UK. "Influencer Connect is an online marketplace that connects brands with social media influencers".

"There’s no existing platform like it in Ireland but it’s a multi-million dollar industry in the US. There’s scope in Ireland to provide a platform like this and cover everything - stars of Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, YouTube, Facebook and more". 

Influencer Connect acts as a marketplace for brands to tender their campaigns to influencers so that influencers can then pitch their services. Ms Cullen said: “The idea with this is that a brand might go onto the app, post a campaign and then a number of influencers would contact them and say well I’ll do it for this much, I’ve this many followers across these networks and then they pick their favourite.

“Brands can pick one influencer or to get a wider spread they might pick four or five. Then the two will go into an online workroom, then all the details will be hashed out there and then the final piece of content is submitted. Once it’s approved then the payment is processed through the app". 

Dublin contestants
Dublin contestants

"It's nice, clean and safe for both and they both get what they want out of it - brands get their product out there and influencers have an easy way to monetize their online presence". 

Should 'Influencer Connect' win the best idea category for the overall Dublin region, Cullen would receive €10,000 for investment in her idea.

Ms Cullen, who also works as social media editor at, is up against two other companies in her area.

Sadie's Kitchen is a bone broth firm that provides broths filled with essential vitamins, minerals, fats, glucosamine and gelatine, started by freelance journalist Sarah Kiely.

Sadie's Kitchen is part of the Supervalu Food Academy. The second is WeSavvy, founded by Hesus Inoma, which is an app that aims to help reduce insurance premiums. WeSavvy is due to roll out across Ireland's major insurers in 2016.

“By making it this far I qualify for a micro-finance loan from the Local Enterprise the next step is to see how far I get in this competition and then second is to cost up app development". 

So I have some news... For the last few weeks, I've been taking part in the Young Entrepreneur competition here in...

Posted by Retro Flame on Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Ms Cullen, who is down to the last 400 for the National Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, is a social media influencer herself, and runs the 'Clisare' YouTube channel. She also has a combined 95,000 followers across her various social media channels. The winners of the Dublin region will be announced on Wednesday. 

Blogger and social media influencer 'Retro Flame', real name Erika Fox, scored the title of Kerry's Best Young Entreprenuer at the end of September for her idea '5A Digital', a talent agency for social media influencers and bloggers.

"I am so unbelievably grateful to say that I was lucky enough to win!! I was one of 15 finalists who took part in business bootcamps over the course of 2 weeks, where we developed a business plan & pitched our ideas to a panel of judges," Retro Flame wrote on Facebook.

She will continue on to compete in the National Competition representing the Kingdom.

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