The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, has met Kelly Ging, who is representing Laois at the National Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition.
Also joining the Taoiseach at the meeting in Dublin were Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister of State for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen, Sheelagh Daly of the Local Enterprise Offices and Martin Corry of Enterprise Ireland.
Kelly Ging, Kelly Lou Cakes travelled to meet The Taoiseach at Government Buildings in Dublin, representing the Local Enterprise Office Laois.
A record 1,842 young entrepreneurs, aged between 18 and 35, have taken part in this year’s IBYE.
The competition has progressed through county and regional stages where 24 young entrepreneurs have now emerged as national IBYE finalists and will compete for the prestigious title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.
The IBYE Final takes place at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin on Sunday, 5th March.
The Taoiseach met the national finalists at Government buildings, before the young entrepreneurs travelled to a pitch training session at Google.
“I am overwhelmed and inspired by the entrepreneurial talent that I have encountered here today. In this fast-moving world, there can be no standing still and we must always stay ahead of the curve in terms of business. It is vital that we nurture our young businesspeople, encourage them, and give them supports as they strive to make an impact and to succeed.”
“We must also be mindful that today’s young entrepreneurs are tomorrow’s employers. IBYE, which is run by the Local Enterprise Offices, is one of the best innovations arising from the Action Plan for Jobs.
“While there are now nearly 190,000 people more in employment than when the Action Plan for Jobs was first launched in 2012, we must not be complacent.
“A lot of work still needs to be done to ensure a bright future for everyone in this country. All the young people I met today are Ireland’s future.”
The IBYE competition is run by Local Enterprise Office Laois.
Congratulating the local finalist and highlighting the benefits of the competition for young entrepreneurs, Evelyn Reddin, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Laois of the Local Enterprise Office Laois said: “Over the three years of the IBYE competition so far, more than 1,200 young entrepreneurs across the country have benefitted from taking part in IBYE Business Bootcamps and 360 have won investment funding for new or growing businesses.
By taking up the supports on offer through the Local Enterprise Office, we are seeing that even more young entrepreneurs are up-skilling; they are developing and refining their plans and business models and they are using financial assistance to unlock new markets and expand their teams.”
She added: “Looking ahead to the national final of IBYE on March 5th, we are very proud to be represented by Kelly Ging, Kelly Lou Cakes and we will continue to support them through every step of their journey.”
A key motivator and showcase for Ireland’s young entrepreneurial talent, IBYE is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices nationwide and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.
The initiative carries a total investment fund of €2 million.
Already, 180 young entrepreneurs and business owners have benefitted from their participation in the earlier stages of the competition, receiving investments of between €3,000 and €15,000 each.
At the National Final, the overall winners and runners-up in the three IBYE categories – Best Business Idea, Best Start-up and Best Established Business will be announced and one of the three national category winners will be crowned ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’.