Mayo were well represented at the national final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition on Sunday last.
Sean McGarry of ShowerGem from Westport won the Best-Established Business category and Brendan Maloney of Skillko from Westport also came runner up in the Best Start Up business category. Both companies are supported by Local Enterprise Office Mayo.
Sean McGarry’s Showergem was an invention borne out of a gap in the bathroom fixture market. Showergem is a shower caddy that attaches to shower walls to hold bottles and razors, using a durable glue that ensures no suction or drilling issues. A recent participant on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, Sean received investment from three of the Dragons to help their continued growth.
Skillko was founded by Brendan Maloney and the business focuses on simplifying the training requirements of other businesses from a multitude of sectors. It has built a unique training platform, creating an open marketplace for businesses and training suppliers to connect and transact in a smart and efficient way, saving both parties time and money. Their target markets are the utilities, construction, rail and manufacturing sectors.
John Magee, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Mayo congratulated Brendan and Sean on their success at the national final: "Brendan and Sean have been exceptional entrepreneurs to work with right through the IBYE process. They have an excellent attitude to furthering their businesses and that makes our job a lot easier. They are a credit to Mayo and a further example of how the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the region. We look forward to continuing to work with them to help them grow their business."
The programme, which is run by the network of Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs ) in local authorities nationwide, funded by the Government of Ireland and supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland, attracted over 1,600 applicants in 2019 with an investment fund of €2million. Already through the programme, 186 entrants have secured investments of between €3,000 and €15,000 each.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD., said: "Irish entrepreneurs are among the very best in the world. That’s because we have huge talent in every region and community in Ireland. Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is about celebrating that talent. The €2 million investment by Government in the competition has ensured that 185 entrepreneurs have not only received investment, but also mentoring, advice and peer-to-peer learning.
"This year’s winners and wider group of finalists are the cream of the crop. They are our future business leaders, and I am delighted that we are celebrating and supporting them through the competition. They are also central to the success of Future Jobs Ireland, our whole-of-Government plan to prepare our businesses and workers for the future."