On November 17th and 18th the Local Enterprise Offices Cork (LEOs) put young entrepreneurs from Cork city and county through their paces as part of the nationwide search to find Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE). 43 young entrepreneurs, shortlisted from almost 200 applicants, came together for an intensive residential business boot camp held at idyllic West Cork setting at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery.
The IBYE business boot camp was designed to help participants develop the skills required to take their entrepreneurial ideas and businesses to the next level with support from experts. The bootcamp is an important part of the competition which includes learning as well as networking.
From the concept stage to reality, building a viable business plan to commercialising their business, the boot camp covered areas including: business strategy, financial planning and management, targets and performance setting, getting investor ready and how to get ready for delivering that “perfect pitch”. The Discovery Partnership was contracted to deliver the business bootcamp event and worked closely with all 43 participants from all three categories over the course of the two days.
This is the fourth year of the IBYE competition, which was open to anyone aged between 18 and 35 with an innovative and original idea or concept for a product or service that is either at start up or early development stage.
In Cork alone there is a €150,000 investment fund up for grabs, and LEO Cork City, LEO South Cork and LEO Cork North and West are each looking for the best entrepreneurs with the potential to shine in the one of three categories – ‘Best Business Idea’, ‘Best Start-Up Business’ and ‘Best Established Business’.
Each of the young entrepreneurs who attended the boot camp will present their business plan and pitch to a judging panel in their region in the coming weeks to vie for a share of the investment fund available according to criteria including businesses’ investment needs and business prospects.
At a County Final on December 14th, each LEO in Cork will award up to six investments to three category winners and three runners-up for their region. The local winners in the ‘Best Start-Up Business’ and ‘Best Established Business’ categories will receive investments of €15,000 each and runner-up in each will each receive €5,000. While the ‘Best Business Idea’ winner will receive an investment of €7,000 and the runner-up will receive €3,000 investment.
The county winners will then go forward to represent their respective LEO in a regional final in January 2018, and if successful there, will fly the Cork flag at the national final to find ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ before the end of the year.
Speaking at the boot camp, Kevin Curran, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Cork North & West said “We are thrilled with the response we received for this year’s search for Cork’s best young entrepreneurs. The competition has grown in popularity since its inception in 2014, a reflection of the entrepreneurial talent that is out there among those aged 18 to 35 all around our region who we need to nurture and support, and we are proud to be associated with an initiative that is nurturing the brightest young entrepreneurs in Ireland.
“We commend all the entrepreneurial young men and women who entered this year and decided to take that next step to make their business a success. Last weekend’s business boot camp offered the shortlisted applicants the opportunity to hone in on their business idea, and focus on what is necessary to make them successful.”