A YOUNG Donegal entrepreneur has won a place at the first-ever national final of ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition, for a chance to share a €100,000 investment fund.
Ellevyn Irvwin from Click Clinic based in Buncrana is representing the region in the Best New Idea category at the national final in Dublin this December and has already won €10,000 in investment from the Local Enterprise Office.
Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition is an integral part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through the 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country.
Yesterday, three local business owners and new start-ups from Donegal, all under the age of 30, went head-to-head with other county winners from Sligo, Longford and Leitrim.
The nominees were all interviewed by a three member judging panel and had to deliver a business pitch, live. Assessed on criteria such as business innovation, job creation potential and financial planning, the announcement of the national finalists was made at an evening reception last night at the Public Services Centre in Donegal Town.
Congratulating the finalists, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. said: “Central to our plans for jobs and growth is supporting more businesses to start-up. Part of this plan is also fostering a stronger culture of entrepreneurship and promoting start-up business as a career option for young people. That is what is behind this new competition to find the best young entrepreneur in the region also ultimately Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.”
The local winner now faces tough competition from 23 other finalists, emerging from eight regional finals. The €100,000 investment fund in December is divided up across four prizes: Best New Idea (€20,000 investment); Best Start Up (€30,000 investment); Best Established Business, with New Add On (€30,000 investment)
Overall Winner of ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ (an additional €20,000 investment).
Importantly, over 400 business owners and start-ups from around the country have benefitted from intensive business bootcamps and mentoring programmes organised by the Local Enterprise Offices at local level, as part of the competition.
The Head of Enterprise with Donegal County Council Michael Tunney said: “We are very proud and honoured to have a representative at the national final in December, as over 1,000 businesses entered from every county in Ireland and competition for every place was intense. Our finalist now has a chance of being crowned ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ and to win additional investment of up to €50,000 in their business.
“We’d also like to congratulate all our other nominees and entrants, who ‘flew the flag’ for us at the county and regional finals and who also came very close to winning and we look forward to supporting their businesses into the future.”
The Donegal representatives at yesterday’s regional finals were:Pete Friel, Chartered Education, Rathmullan and winner of Donegal’s Best Young Entrepreneur and Donegal’s Best New Start Up category; Ellevyn Irwin, Click Clinic, Buncrana and Donegal’s Best New Idea category winner; Christy Lynch of Efficient Renewables Ltd. Muff winner of Donegal’s Best Established Business with a New Add On.