What does Enterprise Ireland do for young entrepreneurs?

Find out more about the Best Young Entrepreneur awards
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Enterprise Ireland is the national organisation for supporting Irish-owned business that export abroad. Its purpose is to build up the number of Irish companies that can be competitive and successful in the global market.

If you’re a young person involved in business, there are many Enterprise Ireland supports you can apply for based on what your company does and how likely it is to grow. Many of them have their own articles on SpunOut.ie so make sure to have a look. This page is a guide to two Enterprise Ireland programmes specifically targeted towards young people and students.

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) is a yearly competition for people between the ages of 18 and 35. To enter, all you need is your own business or a great idea for setting one up. You don’t need any special qualifications or training and can be based in any part of Ireland. There are three categories: Best Business Idea for those who haven’t started trading yet, Best Start-up for those trading for less than 36 months, and Best Established Business for those trading for over 36 months.

IBYE has a €2 million investment fund to be divided between the best entries in each category. The top entry from each of the 31 local enterprise office areas will receive a €50,000 fund to invest in their business and turn their plans into reality. The overall national winners receive a further €100,000 on top of this.

Every year there are dozens of winners, so if you think your business has real potential then why not go for it? You can apply here.

Student Entrepreneur Awards

If you’re a third level student and you think you’ve got a great business idea, the Student Entrepreneur Awards could be an excellent opportunity. The awards are an initiative of Enterprise Ireland and are intended to find ideas with real commercial potential. You can be studying in any area and at any level to be eligible. First prize is a cash reward of €10,000 plus €30,000 worth of specialist advice and support to develop your business idea and there is a variety of other prizes to be won.

The first step is to send in a video setting out your business idea. It should be short and memorable to get the judges’ attention. If your video impresses, you’ll be invited to send in a business plan. This should show that your idea is well thought out, properly researched and capable of succeeding. Academic mentors are available to help you with your plan before submission. Brainstorming sessions are also held in third level institutions across the country to help you prepare your entry.

The top ten entries will be invited to present their idea to the judging panel in a two-day ceremony to pick an overall winner. Keep an eye on their website to see how and when you should submit for the current year’s awards.

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

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