Updated: 26/09/16 : 05:33:03
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Sligo search for Best Young Entrepreneurs gathers pace with €50,000 investment fund

Previous IBYE winners, including Sligo woman, Rhona Togher met up with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’ Connor T.D. and talked about the role IBYE has played in their business success stories. They were also joined by representatives of Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs).

Their message to aspiring young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 in Sligo is to grasp the opportunity and get their applications into www.ibye.ie by the 14th October deadline.

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) is an initiative of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. It is run by Local Enterprise Office Sligo which has an investment fund of up to €50,000 to award to young entrepreneurs across three categories locally - Best Business Idea, Best Start-Up Business and Best Established Business.

Meeting Minister Mitchell O’Connor were four previous IBYE award winners with dynamic businesses from the worlds of technology, food, waste management and retail.

These included local Sligo woman Rhona Togher of Restored Hearing Ltd., James Keogh from Rathwood Home & Garden World Ltd.; Isolde Johnson from The Cool Bean Company; Niall Mimnagh from Mimergy. They have all won IBYE awards over the last two years to include investment funding, business bootcamp places and one-to-one mentoring sessions.

As well as the financial elements of IBYE, they stressed the importance of learning from each other at the IBYE bootcamps, and the invaluable advice and assistance at the one-to-one mentoring sessions.

Sound Therapy

An Ursuline College Sligo graduate, Rhona is the CEO of Restored Hearing, a business that has created two products to address the global health issue of noise-damaged hearing. ‘Sound Relief’ is an online sound therapy for those suffering from tinnitus and ‘Sound Bounce’ is a responsive acoustic material, which acts as a hearing protection product.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “It is so refreshing to hear the success stories from these inspiring and ambitious young entrepreneurs. I fully support Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur initiative, the aim of which, is to support a culture of entrepreneurship among young people at both national and local levels.

"I want to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage young people to set up new businesses which will ultimately create and sustain more jobs right across the country. It is great to hear the success stories from the previous winners and witness the spirit and desire to achieve success.

"I have no doubt that their message will encourage more young people to enter the competition to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur for the third year in a row. This competition offers funding investment and mentoring to young businesses and I would encourage young people with a business or business idea to apply by checking out www.ibye.ie before 14th October.”  

In 2015, three local businesses won investment funding through the Local Enterprise Office. They were: Amr Dawood, Best Business Idea, John Divers, Movers & Makers, Best Start-Up Business & Rhona Togher, Restored Hearing Ltd., Best Established Business. John Reilly, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Sligo said: “We want more young entrepreneurs in the region to grasp the opportunity and enter IBYE before the October 14th deadline.

"The €50,000 county investment fund on offer through the Local Enterprise Office is a major part of the competition, with up to six local businesses winning significant investment prizes. In addition, up to 450 young entrepreneurs from around the country will also win places at regional Business Bootcamps, with access to expert guidance and mentoring for their business ideas and new ventures.”

Further information and details about the IBYE competition are available through www.ibye.ie