Pictured at the Laois IBYE event in the Heritage Hotel, Killenard were Evelyn Reddin, LEO, Head of Enterprise, Kieran Keogh, Alan Meredith, Cllr Tom Mulhall, and Honor Deevy
Alan Meredith's work to-date straddles the boundaries of contemporary craft, sculpture and architecture and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.
Graduating with a masters in Architecture from University College Dublin in September 2015. Alan currently works from his studio in The Oak, Mountmellick, imagining and creating one of a kind and speculative pieces for both public and private clients.
Completed projects include one of a kind furniture, public space design, and a collection of sculptural wood-turned vessels.Alan is the DCCOI - Future Maker of the year 2017. Recent awards include, The Royal Dublin Society Craft Awards 2018, Laois winner of Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur 2016 and an architectural design award from the Institute of Designers in Ireland for a large scale public space at Newpark Comprehensive School. He also the Tresor-Discovery Award at Tresor Contemporary Craft 2017 in Basel, Switzerland.
His biggest Challenge?
Establishing himself and making the business financially viable. He had a limited market, offering bespoke pieces to high-end clients. It was also a challenge to build up a regular customer base at the upper end of the market and there was a temptation to focus on the middle market.
He stood his ground and worked on projects that would build an international brand for him.
Proudest moment in Business?
Winning the Tresor Discovery Award in 2017 voted on by the public at the Tresor Contemporary Craft Exhibition, in Basil Switzerland. It was also a proud moment for him when he won the IBYE Award in 2016 for the Best Start-Up Business. He was encouraged by the fact that his vision for his business was seen by the judges to have real potential on the international market.
Why did he decide to enter the IBYE Competition?
He was encouraged by the Local Enterprise Office to enter, as it would help him in different ways to push his business forward. He saw it as a great opportunity to take a step back, look at his business, and work with experienced mentors.
What was the impact of IBYE on his Business?
He began to take his business more seriously. He worked on a Business Plan as part of the competition and could see how the business could grow internationally if he pursued overseas opportunities.
The Boot Camp focused him in on the importance of business planning, setting targets and writing a Business Plan. He was able to step back and think about where he wanted to take the business. It was great to have the advice and encouragement from the mentors who are experts in their field.
His business plan continues to keep him focused on his key goals today.
Winning the €15,000 helped him fast track his business to where he wanted to be. The equipment that he bought allowed him to make pieces that are more ambitious at a faster pace.
He also used the money to participate at the 2017 House-Event in the RDS. The selection of work he made for this exhibition won him the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland’s Future Makers Award shortly after.
He believes that he is in a much stronger position now in his business because of IBYE. The whole experience has helped to keep him focused on where he is going and what he needs to do to get there.
The whole experience has helped him grow his business and he now employs two people full-time. On looking back, he believes it was less about the money and more about the encouragement and belief in his business from the mentors and the judges that is still with him today.
What would he say to other young Entrepreneurs about IBYE?
He would definitely recommend other young entrepreneurs to enter IBYE because it will give them time to reflect on their strengths and if they are lucky to win, it will fast track the potential of their business.
Alan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his website www.alanmeredith.ie to view his incredible creations