Louth's best young entrepreneurs have been announced at the County Final of Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition. Run by the Local Enterprise Offices, IBYE is supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. Now in its 4th year, this year attracted almost 1,500 applications nationwide.
Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise in Louth explained: The search to find Ireland's best young entrepreneur began in August and we were delighted with the calibre of entries. After a very successful Enterprise Day, Bootcamp and County Final, it's great to know that the future of enterprise and job creation in Louth is bright."
There was joy for Nikki Reddy, aged 34 of Celtic Adventures in Clogherhead who was named winner of the Best Established Business award. She was joined by Stephen Mulligan, of Fighting Fit in Dundalk, who took the runner up title in this category.
The Best Start Up category was a particularly hard-fought contest. Evelyn Garland (23), of Simply Fit Food in Ardee was named winner. The competition was so hard fought in this category that the judges had to award two runners up prizes. John Sullivan of Loud Fades in Drogheda and Leanne Muckian of the Dundalk Study Academy shared the runner up title.
Many innovative new business concepts emerged in the Best Business Idea category. The winner was Colin Marry (34), of The Bacon Tour at Marry's Pig Farm, just outside Drogheda while Riverstown native of Activitour, scooped the runner up title.
Evelyn Garland of Simply Fit Food was named the Overall Winner of IBYE for Louth. Her award was accepted on her behalf by her parents and she and her business partner Luke tuned in to the live stream all the way from south east Asia.
The adjudicators in this year's competition were Sarah Daly of Creative Spark, Breanndan Casey of The Mill Enterprise Hub and Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise in Louth. The awards were presented by Cathaoirleach Cllr. Colm Markey and the ceremony was attended by other special guests including Chief Executive of Louth County Council Joan Martin, Director of Services Frank Pentony, Cllr. Maeve Yore, Cllr. Emma Coffey and Presidents of Dundalk and Drogheda Chambers Michael Gaynor and Paddy Callaghan.
IBYE Co-ordinator for Louth, Sarah Mallon concluded 'Each of the winners and runners-up will share in an investment fund of up to €50,000 from the Local Enterprise Office to help grow and develop their business. The 3 category winners go forward to the Regional Finals in January. The team in Local Enterprise Office Louth will be providing intensive supports between now and then to prepare them for the regionals and hopefully Louth will have a representative at the IBYE National Finals in March.'
Stay up to date with the competition by following on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube. Find out more about supports available to entrepreneurs of all ages by visiting www.localenterprise.ie.