A new competition to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, with a total fund of €2million available to invest in winning businesses aimed at entrepreneurs in every county in the country was launched this week.
In Westmeath, the competition to find Westmeath’s Best Young Entrepreneur will be run by the new Local Enterprise Office. Winners will be named in three categories - best new idea, best start-up, best new venture for established business - as well as an overall winner who will be Westmeath’s Best Young Entrepreneur.
The Westmeath Local Enterprise Office will have a total fund of €50,000 to invest in the three winning businesses, according to criteria including the prospects and investment needs of each business. The overall winner of Westmeath’s Best Young Entrepreneur can receive an investment of up to €25,000.
Mentoring, marketing, and other supports will also be available to participating businesses at various stages of the competition.
The competition is open to individuals aged 30 and under and will be judged under three distinct categories:
· Best new idea
· Best start-up business
· Best established business with new add-on
The first stage will be a county-based competition (run by the 31 LEOs ) leading to the naming of the Best Young Entrepreneur in each county. This stage will include boot camps and mentoring programmes. This will be followed by regional finals and ultimately national finals with one business-person being crowned Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur before the end of the year.
There have been expressions of interest from television production companies on the possibility of covering the later stages of the competition in a reality TV format.
The aim of the initiative is to encourage and support a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in Ireland, to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage the establishment and development of new innovative businesses by Ireland’s young entrepreneurs. This is hugely important for job creation as two thirds of all new jobs are generated by businesses in the first five years of existence - more start-ups and a thriving entrepreneurial culture will lead to more jobs being created.