South Dublin’s best young entrepreneurs have been announced this week 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.

Colm Ward, Head of Enterprise in South Dublin explained: “The search to find Ireland’s best young entrepreneur began back in August and we were delighted with the calibre of entries. After a very successful Enterprise Day, Bootcamp and County Final, I’m pleased to confirm that the future of enterprise and job creation in South Dublin is bright.”

There was joy for Sarah Kiely, aged 30 of Sadie’s Kitchen in Walkinstown as they were named winner of the Best Established Businessaward. They were joined by Michael Higgins, aged 35 of Speedpin in Clondalkin, who took the runner up title in this category.

The Best Start Up category was a particularly hard-fought contest. Jane Aspel, aged 30 of Emma By Jane in Tallaght was named winner while Shane O’Sullivan, aged 23 of OS Big Picture Productions in Palmerstown was named runner-up.

Many innovative new business concepts emerged in the Best Business Idea category. The winner was John Maguire, aged 31 of Sensation Audio in Synergy Centre, IT Tallaght while Barry Sheahan, aged 31 of Active Health in Templeogue scooped the runner up title.

John Maguire of Sensation Audio was named the Overall Winner of IBYE for South Dublin.

The adjudicators in this year’s competition were Niamh Sherwin Barry of The Irish Fairy Door Company, David McDonnel of Visual ID and Colm Ward, Head of Enterprise, LEO South Dublin. The awards ceremony was attended by other special guests including Mayor of South Dublin, Cllr. Paul Gogarty, Cllr. Charlie O’Connor, Chair of the Economic Development, Enterprise & Tourism Strategic Policy Committee in South Dublin County Council, Daniel McLoughlin Chief Executive of South Dublin County Council and Peter Byrne, Chief Executive, South Dublin Chamber.

IBYE Co-ordinator for LEO South Dublin, Amanda Mills 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 Dublin in January. The team in Local Enterprise Office South Dublin will be providing intensive supports between now and then to prepare them for the regionals and hopefully South Dublin 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

Info: For queries or more information, please contact Amanda Mills, LEO South Dublin, 01-4149000,

Supporting information about the IBYE process and competition is listed below.

Background:    About Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur:

  • Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is an enterprise initiative run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) around the country and funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. A €2 million investment fund is available through IBYE which supports young entrepreneurs through training, mentoring and direct financial investments.
  • IBYE was open to people between the ages of 18 (at date of application) and 35 (at 31st December 2017) with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business, including: individuals, venture teams, partnerships, existing businesses with a new idea, or people overseas (including Irish emigrants) who will headquarter in Ireland.
  • 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 18 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 18 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 proceed to eight regional finals in January and February 2018 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.

Local Enterprise Offices

  • The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are the ‘first-stop-shop’ for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and ‘soft’ supports in the form of training and mentoring to anyone wishing to start or grow a business.
  • The LEOs provide a ‘signposting’ service in relation to all relevant state supports available through agencies such as Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, Education and Training Boards, the Credit Review Office and Microfinance Ireland.
  • The LEOs can offer direct grant aid to microenterprises (10 employees or fewer) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector which, over time, have the potential to develop into strong export entities. Subject to certain eligibility criteria, the LEOs can provide financial assistance within three main categories, i.e., Feasibility Grants (investigating the potential of a business idea) Priming Grants (to part-fund a start-up) and Business Development Grants for existing businesses that want to expand.
  • The LEOs also offer advice and guidance in areas such as Local Authority rates, Public Procurement and other regulations affecting business.