GALLERY: Offaly's Best Young Entrepreneurs announced

Artisan Gin, Software Coding for Schoolchildren & Innovative Food Product all among the winners at this year’s awards

Offaly Express Reporter

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Offaly Express Reporter

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Offaly’s best young entrepreneurs have been announced this week at the County Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition for 18-35 year olds.

Run by the Local Enterprise Offices, IBYE is supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. Now in its 4th year, this year attracted almost 1,500 applications nationwide.

Orla Martin, Head of Enterprise in Offaly explained, “The search to find Ireland’s best young entrepreneur back in August and we were delighted with the calibre of entries. After a very successful Enterprise Day, Bootcamp and County Final, I’m pleased to confirm that the future of enterprise and job creation in Offaly is bright.”

There was joy for Eoin Bara, aged 30 of Arderin Distillery T/A Mór Irish Gin in Tullamore as he was named winner of the Best Established Business award. He was joined by Mark Feely, aged 33 of CarpentryWorks.ie in Daingean, who took the runner up title in this category.

The Best Start Up category was a particularly hard-fought contest. David Kelly, aged 28 of Codeucate in Tullamore was named winner while Daniel Carroll, aged 18 of Caballis Equine in Tullamore was named runner-up.

Many innovative new business concepts emerged in the Best Business Idea category. The winner was Deirdre Hynds, aged 33 from Cloghan while Conor Leen, aged 22 of Stampify in Geashill scooped the runner up title.

Eoin Bara of Arderin Distillery was named the Overall Winner of IBYE for Offaly.

The awards ceremony was attended by finalists and their supporters, special guests including Niamh Sherwin Barry of the Irish Fairy Door Company who gave the keynote address and Councillor John Clendennen, Leas Cathaoirleach, Offaly County Council who presented the awards. Also in attendance was a number of County Councillors and Anna Marie Delaney, Chief Executive, Offaly County Council.

Parents of young children in particular will be familiar with the Irish Fairy Door Company and what they do. Anyone who has visited Lough Boora Parklands will also have come across their fairy doors dotted around the park. Niamh co-founded the business in 2013 and serves as its Chief Story Teller and Director. The company employs 15 staff and has an annual turnover of more than €3m.

Niamh was a finalist in this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and recently won the Matheson WMB Female Entrepreneur Award Winner 2017. Niamh shared her experiences of starting and growing the business in a frank and open fashion. She gave some very sound advice including “Finding people with a different skill set than yours, that are just as passionate as you about your company, is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your business” and “networking...and entering Awards..has really paid off for us”.

Speaking at the Awards, Councillor Clendennen commented, “The IBYE awards is one of the most important dates of the year for enterprise in the county. It is great to see so many businesses and business ideas with such a positive outlook. By collaborating with the Local Enterprise Office in embracing the whole concept of entrepreneurship and doing good for the county in terms of job creation and economic development is very heartening to see. The presence of the Local Enterprise Office in Offaly cannot be underestimated. The resources and the services they provide in terms of training, mentoring and networking all contribute to economic growth within the county. I wish continued success to all the finalists”.

Anna Marie Delaney, Chief Executive Offaly County Council took the opportunity to thank the judges Liam Holton of Future Ticketing, James Maloney of Enterprise Ireland and Orla Martin of Local Enterprise Office Offaly. She also thanked the IBYE co-ordinator Geraldine Beirne and her team for delivering the programme. Ms. Delaney concluded, “Each of the winners and runners-up will share in an investment fund of up to €50,000 from the Local Enterprise Office to help grow and develop their business. The 3 category winners go forward to the Regional Finals in Kildare in January. The team in Local Enterprise Office Offaly will be providing intensive supports between now and then to prepare them for the regionals and hopefully Offaly will have a representative at the IBYE National Finals in March.”

The finalists in this year’s awards were:

Best Business Idea
Jerome Flannery, Drone Repellent Device
Deirdre Hynds, Healthfood
Conor Leen, Stampify

Winner: Deirdre Hynds
Deirdre plans to develop a range of targeted health food snacks.
Deirdre receives the Winner’s trophy and investment of €7,000 to help start her business.

Runner up: Conor Leen, Stampify
Stampify is a social enterprise that will enable users to donate meals to members of the homeless community, by filling a Stampify loyalty card with loyalty stamps from participating restaurants.
Conor receives the Runner Up trophy and investment of €3,000 to help with his business idea.

Best Business Start Up
Daniel Carroll, Caballis Equine Ltd
Darragh Egan, Ballyealan Engineering Ltd
Elizabeth Finnegan, Booley Foods Ltd
David Kelly, Codeucate
Patrick Lowbridge, The Macro Counter
Carla Mooney, Silk Road on Demand

Winner: David Kelly, Codeucate
Codeucate has developed an online teaching and learning platform to make the teaching and learning of computer programming (coding) available in a teacher-friendly and pupil-friendly way to children in Irish schools, the United Kingdom and beyond.  David receives the Winner’s trophy and investment of €15,000 to help with develop his business.

Runner up: Daniel Carroll, Caballis Equine Ltd
Caballis is a website that enables horse riders and trainers to analyse, track and improve their horse’s performance.
Daniel receives the Runner Up trophy and investment of €5,000 to help with grow his business.


Best Established Business
Eoin Bara, Arderin Distillery Ltd T/A Mor Irish Gin
Mark Feely, Carpentryworks.ie
Jeff Harvey, Jeff Harvey Photography
Padraig Keane, Keane Dairy Farm
Emmet Nolan, RequestIT

Winner: Eoin Bara, Arderin Distillery Ltd T/A Mor Irish Gin
Arderin Distillery’s first product Mór Gin recently won Double Gold at the wine and spirits wholesalers of America. Arderin Distillery uses water direct from the Slieve Bloom mountains in its famous Mór Gin product.
Eoin receives the Winner’s trophy and investment of €15,000 to help with develop his business.

Runner up: Mark Feely, Carpentryworks.ie
CarpentryWorks.ie is a one stop carpentry service that provide all carpentry from your finished timber floors to the roof of the building. Mark receives the Runner Up trophy and investment of €5,000 to help with grow his business.

Find out more about supports available to entrepreneurs of all ages by  clicking here