A University of Limerick engineering graduate has won €20,000 after being named Limerick’s Best Young Entrepreneur at a function hosted in the Castletroy Park Hotel.

Dr. Paddy Finn of Electricity Exchange 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) Limerick.

Aislinn O’Flynn of Sensomi was awarded €10,000 for winning the ‘Best New Idea’ category, while Aisling Maher of Aisling Maher Fashion Designs received €20,000 for winning ‘Best Established Business with New Add On’.

The three local category winners now proceed to a regional competition, 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 40 applications from young people, aged 30 and under, from across the City and County.  After a full review of applications, fifteen finalists were shortlisted and took part in an intensive Business Boot Camp.

Marking the awards ceremony in Limerick, 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.

The Minister continued: “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 Limerick also ultimately Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. We have excellent start-ups and entrepreneurs in Ireland – we just don’t have enough of them.” 

“It is great to see so many excellent entrepreneurs and business-people in Limerick getting involved in this competition, and I am delighted to congratulate Sensomi, Electricity Exchange and Aisling Maher Fashion Designs on their success. I wish all three winners every success in the later stages of the competition, and wish all participants every success as they grow their businesses and contribute to the job-creation we need,” added Minister Bruton.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mr. Eamon Ryan, Head of Local Enterprise for Limerick, said: “The Limerick 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 Limerick 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 and are very proud to have the business represent Limerick at Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition,” concluded Mr. Ryan.