The recently launched Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Clare has announced details of a new competition to find Clare’s Best Young Entrepreneur.
€50,000 will be invested in the business models of Clare’s three winning entrepreneurs who will also proceed to regional and national finals with the aim of finding Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. The overall winner of Clare’s Best Young Entrepreneur will receive an investment of up to €25,000.
The competition is being coordinated nationally by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, and will see a total fund of €2million being made available to invest in winning businesses in every county in Ireland.
Mentoring, marketing and other supports will also be available to participating businesses at various stages of the competition, which is open to individuals aged 30 and under. The competition will be judged under three categories, namely best new idea, best start-up business and best established business.
Launching the national competition, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD said, “Central to our plans for jobs and growth is supporting more businesses to start-up. Two thirds of all new jobs are created by start-ups, so if we are to create the jobs we need we must support more entrepreneurs to start new businesses. That is why we put in place the entrepreneurship forum chaired by Sean O’Sullivan and that is why we established the Local Enterprise Offices to provide more and better Government supports to businesses in one easily-accessible place at local level.
“Part of this plan is also fostering a stronger culture of entrepreneurship and promoting start-up business as a career option for young people. That is what is behind this new competition to find the best young entrepreneur in every county in Ireland also ultimately Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. We have excellent start-ups and entrepreneurs in Ireland – we just don’t have enough of them. I urge young people in every part of the country who is considering starting a business, or who might have a business idea – get involved, pitch your idea, take advantage of the mentoring and the supports, and maybe you will be Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in 2014,” he added.
Tom Coughlan, Chief Executive, Clare County Council noted that the Clare stage of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur will help to showcase the important role that the Local Enterprise Office has to play in developing local enterprise plans and putting micro and small business at the heart of job creation locally.
Combining the resources of the Clare County Enterprise Board and Clare County Council, LEO Clare was officially launched earlier this month to deliver services and support to the micro and small business sectors on behalf of Enterprise Ireland.
Mr Coughlan explained, “The aim of the initiative is to encourage and support a culture of entrepreneurship among young people, to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage the establishment and development of new innovative businesses by 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.”
The Clare stage of the competition is open to everyone with an innovative business idea, including individuals, venture teams, partnerships, existing businesses with a new idea, and people overseas that are looking to locate to Clare. Winners will be named in three categories as well as an overall winner who will be Clare’s Best Young Entrepreneur. LEO Clare 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.
Clare’s three winning entrepreneurs, including the overall winner of Clare’s Best Young Entrepreneur, will proceed to regional finals with winners identified in each category in Dublin, Mid-East, Midlands, South East, South West, Mid West, West and Border regions. These 24 businesses will then proceed to national finals to be held before the end of the year with winners once again being identified for each category as well as an overall winner who will be crowned Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. There will be a total fund of €100,000 available for investment in the three winning businesses at the national finals, with the overall winner eligible for an investment of up to €50,000.

Who can apply?
Before you are prepared to submit here are some criteria that you need to check out
1. Age 30 years and under (at 31st December 2014).
2. Original and innovative idea, start-up or existing business add-on.
3. Applicants must own, control and manage their business Intellectual Property.
4. Not for profit and social entrepreneurship applicants must operate in a commercial domain.
5. You must be eligible to own, manage and operate a business in Ireland at the time of application.
6. Applicants from overseas who are eligible to operate a business in Ireland are encouraged to apply.
7. You must submit a preliminary application online or via your local enterprise office by the closing date of the 30th June 2014.
8. One project submission per applicant is allowed.
9. Existing businesses that wish to apply must be promoted by a young entrepreneur (30 years of age and under) and must have a new plan to further develop the business.

To find out more or to apply to become Clare’s Best Young Entrepreneur go to www.localenterprise.ie or visit LEO Clare at Áras Contae and Chláir. The deadline for receipt of applications is 30th June 2014.

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