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Gary Cobbe is the young entrepeneur of Laois for 2017 #pictures

Pat Somers & Alf Harvey

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Pat Somers & Alf Harvey

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Gary Cobbe of Irish Polymer Extrusions Limited was named the Overall Winner of Irish Best Young Entrepreneur competition for Laois at the County Final of the competition before Christmas.

Gary emerged victorious in the keenly contested competition which began last August.

“We were delighted with the calibre of entries,” said Evelyn Reddin, Head of Enterprise in Laois.

“After a very successful Enterprise Day, Bootcamp and County Final, I’m pleased to confirm that the future of enterprise and job creation in Laois is bright.”

Gary Cobbe's Irish Polymer Extrusions Limited in Mountmellick was named winner of the Best Established Business award. They were joined by Sharon Leavy, of Sharon Leavy College of Hair and Beauty in Portlaoise, who took the runner up title in this category.

The Best Start Up category was a particularly hard-fought contest. Jonathan Bracken of Bracken Enterprise in Portarlington was named winner while Aaron Lennon of Linked in Portlaoise was named runner-up.

Many innovative new business concepts emerged in the Best Business Idea category. The winner was Declan Dunne of Crate Studio in Portlaoise while Hollianne Phelan of Shopline in Portlaoise scooped the runner up title.

Gary Cobbe of Irish Polymer Extrusions Limited was named the Overall Winner of IBYE for Laois.

The adjudicators in this years competition were Louise Ward, Head of Enterprise of Local Enterprise Office Roscommon, James Maloney, Enterprise Ireland and Ailish Delaney of I.T. Carlow.

The awards ceremony was attended by other special guests including the Cathaoirleach of Laois County Council, Cllr. Padraig Fleming and the Chief Executive of Laois County Council, John Mulholland.

IBYE Co-ordinator for Laois, Honor Deevy 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 Kildare in January. The team in Local Enterprise Office Laois will be providing intensive supports between now and then to prepare them for the regionals and hopefully Laois will have a representative at the IBYE National Finals in March.”

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.