Are you Donegal’s next Young Entrepreneur?

Gillian Doyle who won the Best Business Idea category in the Donegal finals of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur contest. Gillian progressed through the regional finals in Sligo to the national finals in Dublin in March.

WITH applications for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur now open, young entrepreneurs in Donegal aged between 18 and 35 have been urged to make sure that they apply for this year’s competition.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, Frances Fitzgerald T.D. and Minister of State for Business, Pat Breen TD were both present at the nationwide launch of the contest earlier this week, but for Donegal entrepreneurs the focus will begin with the local competition and there’s €50,000 to be won in the county across three separate categories.


Local winners in the Best Start-Up and Best Established Business categories will receive investments of up to €15,000 each and the two runners-up will each receive up to €5,000.

The Best Business Idea winner at county level will receive an investment of up to €7,000 and the runner-up will receive up to €3,000 of investment. These winners at county level will progress to Regional Finals early next year and will be hoping to reach the national IBYE finals in March 2018.

Last year Portnoo-based businesswoman Gillian Doyle was the toast of the business world in Donegal when she progressed from winning the Donegal final to scoop the Regional Award for Best Business Idea at the regional finals in Sligo.

And she was full of praise for the competition, urging young entrepreneurs to apply and take advantage of the help it can give them to ensure they can grow their business.

““I’m not talking about grants or financial assistance, it is the support, the advice, the learning and mentoring. It was nothing short of phenomenal. The Local Enterprise Office was so supportive and so helpful.”

Initial applicants are short-listed to local finalists who receive intensive Business Bootcamp training ahead of the Donegal final.

Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Michael Tunney, said that the feedback from applicants year after year has been that the Business Bootcamps have been of tremendous assistance.


“It is a nice incentive for applicants to try and capture the investment prizes, but even if they don’t, taking part in the Business Bootcamps will help them fine tune their business plans, learn new enterprise skills and avail of the highest quality one to one mentoring and business coaching,” he said.

He added: “Since the IBYE competition started, businesses coming through the competition in Donegal have performed at a consistently high level. The contest is a springboard for young entrepreneurs who want to start or expand their business. We are very pleased with the spirit of entrepreneurship in the county among our young people and I urge them to make sure they get their applications in for this year’s competition.”

Applications can be made online by Friday 29 September at but anyone seeking more information before submitting their application can call Donegal Local Enterprise Office: 07491 60735 or e.mail

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