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€50,000 up for grabs for young entrepreneurs in Wicklow

The countdown to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur has begun.

Wicklow’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is offering a prize fund of €50,000 for young business owners with fledgling and established business ideas.

The competition takes place at the county level, followed by a regional and a national final. Local winners can receive up to €15,000 in prize money during the competition’s opening round.

The prizes form part of a €2 million investment fund for young Irish entrepreneurs who enter Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, a government initiative now entering its fifth year.

A total of 31 Local Enterprise Offices across Ireland are now accepting applications for the competition which will kick off in March and run throughout the year.

Entrepreneurs in the Wicklow bracket have enjoyed success in previous years, with many qualifying for the national finals.

In 2015, James Keogh of Rathwood Ireland picked up the national Best Established Business award supported through the Wicklow Local Enterprise Office.

And last year, Kate Dempsey of the Irish Mussel Seed Company and Maurice Sheehy of Fleet App reached the national finals as part of #TeamWicklow.

Speaking at the event’s launch last week, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys T.D. said: “I urge all young entrepreneurs to call their local LEO today or log on to the IBYE website to learn about the competition and also to find out first-hand how the dedicated teams in the LEO offices around the country can help them make it happen for their businesses.”

Entry is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 35 applying for one of three categories.

• Best Idea (idea for a business but has not starting trading at time of application)
• Best Start-Up Business (trading but in business 18 months or less)
• Best Established Business (trading for more than 18 months)

Apart from prize money, the Local Enterprise Office is also offering a program of training and mentorship for young Wicklow entrepreneurs. In total, 450 applicants throughout the country will be invited to take part in nationwide training bootcamps.

Since 2015, 500 entrepreneurs have received over €6.5 million in funding from the competition.

Applications close 15th March 2019.

More details about the competition can be found here.

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