Ahead of this year’s Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) Final on 22 April a new report has shown that young entrepreneurs who received funding through the programme have currently generated annual sales worth €124 million.

The report, released by the Local Enterprise Offices, has also shown that each of the 348 entrepreneurs selected received investment funding from the State agency, Enterprise Ireland of between €3,000 and €50,000. The entrepreneurs’ companies employ approximately 2,217 people.

Carried out by Set2Grow and commissioned by Enterprise Ireland the report highlights the impact made by young entrepreneurs in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Over all three years over 4,259 people applied for IBYE with 1,350 of these people receiving business boot camp training and one-on-one mentoring. The total monetary investment by the government over the three years was €5 million.

The research report found that the two main sectors that were invested in were food and software. 64% of the respondents’ principle export market is the UK while Europe is the choice for 59% and the US takes third place with 29%. The average figure of export sales was 24.7%. The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD said: “This new research now shows that the €5 million we invested in IBYE has supported over 2,200 jobs and €124 million in sales. Without a doubt, that’s an excellent return for the investment, and I would like to commend the businesses involved, not to mention the staff behind our network of LEOs, for their strong dedication to the initiative.”

Beyond the IBYE funding 39% responded that additional funding came from the State while 61% reported that their additional funding came from private investors such as venture capitalists, angel funds and friends and family. When asked about the challenges of starting a business as entrepreneurs the biggest challenge was said to be “financing a new business from the outset. Other challenges included building a team and growing sales once established.

The IBYE Final runs across three categories with a €100,000 prize shared out among the winners in the categories of Best Business Idea, Best Business Start-Up and Best Established Business. The National Final for 2018 is set to take place in Google’s Dublin headquarters on 22 April and involving 24 finalists across all three competition categories. Some of this year’s finalists include Matthew McCann of Access Earth, Padraic Hayes of MyBev.ie, Niall Harty of Harty Nutrition and Eoin Barra of Mór Irish Gin.

Every year there is a €2million investment fund contributed to the IBYE programme by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland and allocated by the Local Enterprise Offices. For more information on Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur, see www.IBYE.ie or follow the conversation online using #IBYE.

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