Laois entrepreneur takes part in IBYE national final

Laois entrepreneur takes part in IBYE national final
Express reporter

Diane Cooper of True Fitness from Portarlington, supported by Local Enterprise Office Laois represented the county at the recent National Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.

The company was founded by Dr. Diane Cooper and her business idea focuses on developing a point-of-care device to assess the variables that quantify insulin resistance, accompanied by a practical evidence-based treatment plan.

The programme, which is run by the network of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in local authorities nationwide, funded by the Government of Ireland and supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland, attracted over 1,600 applicants in 2019 with an investment fund of €2million.

Already through the programme, 186 entrants have secured investments of between €3,000 and €15,000 each.

Sharon Cunningham, co-founder of Shorla Pharma, who are supported by Local Enterprise Office Tipperary, took home the top award at the event after also winning her national category Best Start-Up Business and securing a total investment fund of €40,000

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys made the announcement in front of 360 guests at the IBYE National Final, held at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin.

Sharon Cunningham, a Waterford native, started Shorla Pharma with her former EirGen colleague Orlaith Ryan based out of Tipperary.

A qualified chartered account, Cunningham founded Shorla in 2018 after identifying a significant issue in the pharmaceutical industry.

The company focuses on improving existing treatments for children’sand women’s cancers making them more user friendly.

Their first product is the redevelopment of a children’s cancer drug from a difficult to swallow capsule, into an oral solution.

The other IBYE National Final category winners were Martin O’Reilly of Output Sports (Local Enterprise Office Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown) who won the Best Business Idea category and Sean McGarry of Showergem (Local Enterprise Office Mayo) who won the Best Established Business category.

Martin O’Reilly’s Output Sports, who are supported by Enterprise Ireland,are working with professional athletes around the world, including Leinster’s Adam Byrne and Kilkenny hurler Cillian Buckley.

They are developing a sensor system that streamlines off-field performance optimisation, testing speed and strength offering unrivalled accuracy in exercise analysis.