Competing for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in the upcoming national final will be Darragh Lucey, Yooni from Ovens, Wendy Oke, Teachkloud, Douglas and Conor Walsh, Encon From Waterford.
The Regional (Cork and Waterford) 'Best Young Entrepreneurs’ were announced at an awards ceremony hosted by Cork County Council’s Local Enterprise Office, Cork North & West on Wednesday 12th June at Cork Marts, Corrin Event Centre, Fermoy. The winners were chosen from 12 finalists, shortlisted from almost 200 applicants in the competition which was launched earlier this year by the LEO’s as part of a nationwide search to find 'Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE)'.
Now in its fifth year, IBYE is a nationwide campaign to celebrate Ireland’s young entrepreneurs and is open to individuals aged 18 to 35 who have an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business.
24 contenders (three from each region, nationally - one in each category) will be selected to compete for the national title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur on Sunday 15th of September 2019. A further €100,000 investment fund will be available to invest in the winners of the three categories at the national final - one of which will also be named as 'Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur'. Eight regional finals are taking place across the country over the next few weeks in the search for 'Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2019'.
The Cork & Waterford final was hosted by Cork County Council’s Local Enterprise Office, Cork North & West and Mayor of Cork County Cllr. Christopher O’Sullivan was also in attendance to present the awards at Cork Marts, Corrin Event Centre, Fermoy, Co Cork. Among the special guests at the awards ceremony were Mayor of Cork County, Cllr. Christopher O’Sullivan, James Fogarty, Divisional Manager, Cork County Council and Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Sean Martin.
The LEO Regional (Cork and Waterford) ‘Best Business Idea’ category was won by Darragh Lucey, Yooni, from Ovens. Yooni uses Artificial Intelligence to generate tailor made lists of best-fit courses for students to progress to Higher Education Institutes. Each list is tailor made and unique to each student, based on their personal information and psychometrics.
The winner of the ‘Best Start-Up Business’ category was Wendy Oke founder of Teachcloud from Douglas. Teachkloud is a cloud –based management system that saves teachers time on paperwork and increases compliance with regulations.
The title of ‘Best Established Business’ went to Conor Walsh founder of Encon. Encon’s USP is to retrofit homes, making them energy efficient and affordable to run.
The regional winners will now proceed to compete for the national title of 'Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2019' on Sunday 15th of September 2019. A further €100,000 investment fund will be available to invest in the winners of the three categories at the national final - one of which will also be named as 'Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2019'.
Speaking at the regional final, Kevin Curran, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office, Cork North & West said,
“We are delighted to have had such a positive response from so many strong candidates from Cork & Waterford this year - it is fantastic to see so many young entrepreneurs here tonight with innovative ideas and businesses. The skills and knowledge gained by all involved in the competition we hope will stay with each participant and help grow their businesses even further. We are excited to see what will be in-store for our regional winners and we wish them every success in the upcoming national finals! IBYE is a remarkable platform that we hope will encourage and grow further young entrepreneurship and job creation in the region.”