An Athlone-based business has won the Best Start-Up title in the county final of this year’s Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE ) competition.
James Sherlock, aged 34, from Smart Business Analytics based in Church Street, Athlone, was awarded the top prize of €15,000 in the awards, which took place in County Buildings in Mullingar last Friday, December 9.
Co-founded with his brother Adrian Sherlock, Smart Business Analytics is a specialist in business intelligence and data solutions, with a particular focus on the automotive sector.
A total sum of €50,000 was presented by Local Enterprise Office Westmeath to six young entrepreneurs in the county, all aged between 18 and 35.
The overall Best Young Entrepreneur for the county was named as Enda Geoghegan, aged 30, from Lift Hire Ireland in Mullingar. The entrepreneur also won the category for Best Established Business and an investment fund from LEO Westmeath worth €15,000. Lift Hire Ireland provides truck and van mounted lifts with operators on a nationwide basis.
Ciaran Walsh, aged 22, from Rathowen won the Best New Business Idea category, with a prize of €7,000. Ciaran wishes to develop a connected health system that will monitor individuals who have suffered a stroke.
All three category winners will now be representing the county at one of eight IBYE regional finals, taking place during January and February 2017.
The category runners-up also shared an investment of €13,000 between their three businesses. They were: Mark Gaye, 23, from Notorious in Mullingar in the Best Start-up category; Pete Coyne, 33, from Tipi Faoi Na Realtai in Coole in the Best Established Business category; and Kasia Gaborec-McEvoy, 34, from My Name is Ted in Mullingar in the Best New Business Idea category.
Head of enterprise with LEO Westmeath, Christine Charlton, said: “We started the search to find Ireland’s best young entrepreneur in August and the competition received a record-breaking number of entries this year, with 1,800 young entrepreneurs applying nationally. After a very successful IBYE bootcamp and county final, the future is bright for both youth entrepreneurship and job creation in the region.”