Wicklow entrepreneurs claimed the top spot in two out of three categories at Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition last week in Tinakilly Country House hotel
It is the second consecutive year that Wicklow business people have been successful at the regional final of the competition which was hosted by the Local Enterprise Office in Wicklow.
Kate Dempsey (33) of Irish Mussel Seed Company in Arklow won the Best Business Idea, and Maurice Sheehy (27) of Fleet, in Wicklow Town was awarded the title of Best Start Up Business.
Both businesses fended off significant competition from finalists from neighbouring counties Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny to claim the Regional titles.
The aim of the IBYE initiative, which is delivered nationally through the Local Enterprise Offices, is to encourage the establishment and development of new innovative businesses by Ireland’s young entrepreneurs.
Wicklow’s Local Enterprise Office said in a statement: “The regional winners are testament to the ingenuity of young entrepreneurs in county Wicklow and reflects the diversity of businesses being promoted by the next generation of business leaders in the County.”
The competition attracted 1,616 applicants nationally with 178 entrepreneurs applying from the south-east region comprising Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Wicklow. Wicklow county final winners and runners up have shared in a prize fund of €50,000 to date and Regional winners Kate Dempsey and Maurice Sheehy now have the opportunity to add to that by competing for a slice of the €100,000 prize fund available at the National finals which will take place on March 4th in Google Headquarters in Dublin.
Sheelagh Daly, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Wicklow, congratulated the winners on their success, adding: “The winners represent the wealth of young talent that exists throughout the county which the LEO are committed to supporting in order to bring new and exciting business ideas to fruition. We wish Kate and Maurice continued success as they progress in the competition”.