A 26-year-old physiotherapist from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown who developed an app that is transforming the lives of thousands of people with Parkinson’s disease all over the world has been named as Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE).

Ciara Clancy of Beats Medical wins a €45,000 investment fund through the Local Enterprise Offices after scooping the coveted title at the IBYE national final.

The competition, which is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland and run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices, attracted entries from over 1,800 18-to-35-year-olds, showcasing some of the country’s best and brightest business talent. In addition to becoming Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, Ciara won the ‘Best Established Business’ category.

Ciara, who is passionate about improving healthcare through technology for people with neurological conditions, is providing individually tailored physiotherapy, speech and language and occupational therapy exercises through mobile phones in 40 countries.

A delighted Ciara said that her aim is to continue supporting more and more people with Parkinson’s around the world, as an estimated 10 million people currently live with the disease. She is also developing digital treatments for other neurological conditions such as MS, Stroke, Dyspraxia and Cerebral Palsy. She said: “These success stories keep all of the team at Beats Medical motivated every day to do more for the people that use our service.”

Meanwhile Alvan Hunt (age 26) of Hexafly in Meath won the ‘Best Business Idea’ category while the winner of the ‘Best Start Up Business’ category is Samuel Dennigan (age 31), of Strong Roots in Dublin City.

Hexafly uses cutting-edge biotechnology to find smart ways to feed the planet using the by-products of insects, while Strong Roots is providing new healthy alternatives in the frozen food sector.

The ‘Best Promotion of Business On-Line’ Google award went to Richard Barrett (age 27) of Pundit Arena in South Cork.

The three category runners-up were Damien Mason (age 35) of Flexibod in Clare in the ‘Best Business Idea’ category, Roisin Hogan (age 35) of HIRO by Roisin in Louth in the ‘Best Start-Up Business’ category and Heinrich Anhold (age 35) of StableLab in Sligo in the ‘Best Established Business’ category.

The 31 Local Enterprise Offices were represented at the ceremony by Sheelagh Daly who said: “A huge congratulations to today’s winners and all the finalists and participants who have been on this inspiring IBYE journey, including the 400 young entrepreneurs who took part in Business Bootcamps around the country. My colleagues in Local Enterprise Offices right across Ireland have been incredibly impressed with the quality of entrants in this year’s IBYE competition, and their commitment, drive and passion for enterprise. Through IBYE and other targeted enterprise initiatives, we want to encourage many more young entrepreneurs to avail of specialist training, mentoring and to access to financial assistance through Local Enterprise Offices in every local authority area.”

The judging panel was chaired by Paddy Flynn, Director of Trust and Safety with Google. The other members of the judging panel were Eugene Forde, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Orla Martin, Head of Enterprise, LEO Offaly, Niall O’ Donnellan, Enterprise Ireland, Brian Crowley, CEO, TTM Healthcare and Sarah Doyle, CEO, Kinesense.