A County Clare fashion designer has won €20,000 after being named Clare’s Best Young Entrepreneur at an awards ceremony hosted at The Rowan Tree in Ennis today.
Regina Tierney of Brigids Mantle, an independent clothing company providing innovative new designs inspired by the West of Ireland, was named overall winner as well as the winner of the ‘Best Start-Up Business ‘category of the competition, which was organised by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Clare. As well as receiving a €20,000 investment in her business, the Kilnamona-based entrepreneur also was presented with a handmade piece of pottery designed and made by Hannah Arnup of Ballymorris Pottery in Cratloe.
Steve Markham of hAppie – a boutique mobile application developer and publisher – was awarded €10,000 for winning the ‘Best Idea (for a new business)’ category, while Eric Gargiulo of Delivery Guys Ltd. – an end to end ordering, payment and delivery service to the restaurant sector – received €20,000 for winning ‘Best Established Business (in business more than 18 months)’. Both entrepreneurs received a specially commissioned crystal piece, designed by Jim Casey Trophies, Chapel Lane, Ennis.
The three local category winners now proceed to a regional competition next month with the winners from each region progressing to the national stage of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which features an Investment Fund of €100,000 to be shared among the winners at a ceremony on 6th December.
The local stage of the competition attracted applications from young people, aged 30 and under, from across County Clare. After a full review of applications, 11 finalists were shortlisted and took part in intensive Business Boot Camps facilitated by Theresa Mulvihil of Smart Marketing Ltd.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Cllr. John Crowe, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council congratulated LEO Clare for “showcasing the business acumen of the County’s young business men and women.”
He added: “Clare has a long tradition of producing successful entrepreneurs. The participants of this competition have demonstrated that this spirit of innovation is very much alive today in spite of the ongoing, difficult operating environment. They are the lifeblood of the local economy and for that I want to congratulate them.”
Ms. Betty Devanny, Senior Enterprise Development Officer, LEO Clare, said: “The Clare final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur was a highly contested competition. All the participants showed commitment and dedication to their business development and it was a very difficult selection for the judges to select winners from each category.”
“LEO Clare looks forward to working closely with all the finalists over the coming months and help them spread their business wings further. I wish the winners of each category the best of luck at the regional judging, which takes place on November 3rd before the awards ceremony in Limerick on November 12th,” concluded Ms. Devanny.
The 11 finalists in the Clare final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur were: Regina Tierney (Brigids Mantle), Steve Markham (hAppie), Eric Gargiulo (Delivery Guys Ltd.), Tim Crowe (Irish Sport Services), Thomas Gleeson (Stories About You), Tola Culliney (T-Fades Barber Shop), Keith King (Annie’s Night Owl Service), Dean Costelloe, Enda McGuane (West Coast Cycle Tours), Camilla Roelants (Bosca Pasta) and Fergal Smith (Moy Hill Community Garden).
Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition was launched earlier this year by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. This IBYE Competition is designed to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in Ireland and to encourage the establishment of new innovative businesses by Ireland’s best young entrepreneurs. The initiative is an integral part of the Action Plan for jobs 2014.
Combining the resources of the Clare County Enterprise Board and Clare County Council’s business support unit, the Clare Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is one of 31 LEOs around Ireland that is tasked with delivering services and support to businesses within a framework set by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and overseen by Enterprise Ireland.
The Local Enterprise Office Clare, Áras Contae an Chláir, Ennis, Co. Clare, can be contacted on 065-6821616 / email@example.com. Further information is available from www.localenterprise.ie/clare