Fingal's best young entrepreneurs
Fingal's 'Best Young Entrepreneurs' for 2019 and €50,000 investment fund winners were announced at an awards ceremony hosted by LEO Fingal last Thursday evening.
As part of a nationwide search launched by Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Pat Breen to find Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneurs (IBYE) for 2019, the six winners and runners-up were chosen from 16 local finalists and will now share a €50,000 investment fund.
IBYE, now in its fifth year, is a nationwide youth enterprise initiative to help 18-to-35 year olds with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business. In 2019, 1,644 young entrepreneurs entered IBYE, which is an initiative of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and supported by Enterprise Ireland and local authorities.
The county final was hosted by Noel Davidson of Entrepreneur's Academy. Among the special guests at the awards ceremony were Cllr. Anthony Lavin, Mayor of Fingal and Ms. AnnMarie Farelly, Interim Chief Executive of Fingal County Council.
The 'Best New Idea' category, with a €7,000 investment fund, was won by Graham Brocklebank, founder of Peer in Castleknock. Peer is an ed tech company. They are creating a user driven reading and learning solution for people with dyslexia and other print-based disabilities. The runner-up award and €3,000 investment fund went to Mark Sweetman, of NAVchain in Blanchardstown.
The winner of the 'Best Start-Up Business' category and the €15,000 investment fund was Ciaran Brennan, founder of LiveCosts.com in Blanchardstown. LiveCosts.com helps construction companies increase their profits by managing & analysing their project costs in real time. The runner-up in this category, collecting a €5,000 investment fund, was Justin Perry, of Frequency in Portmarnock.
Meanwhile, the winner of 'Best Established Business', with an investment fund of €15,000, went to Seamus Tighe, founder of Everest Granola Ltd in Blanchardstown. Everest snacks provides convenient products made from tasty natural ingredients. The runner-up in this category, scooping a €5,000 investment fund, was Colm Cleary, of Fitness Equipment Ireland in Sutton.
Ciaran Brennan was also awarded the title of 'Best Young Entrepreneur' for Fingal.
In the lead-up to the county final, each finalist received targeted business supports through LEO Fingal. They attended an intensive Business Boot Camp, receiving mentoring and support on their business plans, pitch training as well as getting the opportunity to connect with other young entrepreneurs from the Dublin Region.
Cllr Anthony Lavin, Mayor of Fingal praised the young entrepreneurs at the finals; 'Once again, Fingal has produced a cadre of high quality of young entrepreneurs, of whom we can be proud to represent the county well at the Dublin Region finals.
'Fingal County Council, through the Local Enterprise Office will ensure they are given every opportunity for their businesses to flourish.'
AnneMarie Farelly, Interim Chief Executive, Fingal County Council further added: 'The IBYE competition supports the success of young entrepreneurs in Fingal County. This in turns creates a stream of new jobs for the county helping the sustainability of the local economy.
'Our Local Enterprise Office in Fingal County Council is well equipped to provide a range of financial and soft supports to safeguard this.'
Oisín Geoghegan, Chair of the Local Enterprise Office Network and Head of Enterprise in Fingal concluded: 'As our winners clearly demonstrate, youth entrepreneurship is thriving here in Fingal. IBYE is about discovering local potential and nurturing that talent through financial supports, mentoring, training and networking opportunities.
'In 2019, LEO Fingal supported over 70 young entrepreneurs through the IBYE competition and over 450 young entrepreneurs in total, since the competition began in 2014. We want to build on that success by supporting Fingal's young entrepreneurs today and into the future.'
The county winners from Fingal will now progress to the Dublin Region finals in June.