Fifteen Limerick entrepreneurs have been shortlisted in the search for Limerick’s Best Young Entrepreneur which will be announced at the Castletroy Park Hotel this Thursday evening 1 October.

Organised locally by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Limerick, the competition attracted applications from young people, aged 18-30, from across the City and County.

After a full review of applications, fifteen finalists were shortlisted and have taken part in an intensive weekend Business Boot Camp. Winners in three categories will be announced at Thursday’s Awards Ceremony.

€50,000 will be invested over 18 months in the business models of Limerick’s three winning entrepreneurs who will also proceed to regional and national finals with the aim of finding Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE).

“This initiative 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,” commented Mr. Eamon Ryan, Head of Local Enterprise for Limerick.

“This is the second year of the initiative,” he added, “and I am pleased to see an increase in the numbers of applicants. We have an excellent group of finalists, and I don’t envy the judges’ job deciding on the winner for each category. I wish the best of luck to all taking part in the next stage.”

Dr. Paddy Finn of Electricity Exchange was named inaugural winner of Limerick’s Best Young Entrepreneur in 2014 as well as the winner of the ‘Best Start-Up Business ‘category of the competition. Aislinn O’Flynn of Sensomi won the ‘Best New Idea’ category, while Aisling Maher of Aisling Maher Fashion Designs won the ‘Best Established Business with New Add On’ category.

The finalists in the 2015 Limerick final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur are: Ethan O’Brien (Jump A Grade), Kieran Normoyle (Deviate Aspire), Alan Brereton (Alda Concepts Ltd), Christopher Kelly (Talamh), Ciaran Prenderville and Aoife Howard (The Good Food Goddess) – Best Business Idea: Pre Trading Category; Darragh Bourke (Paw Pals), David O’Shea (nTrai Ltd.), Marie Curtin (Temple Dairy), Eric McNulty (McNulty’s Low Cost Fuels) and Paddy Finn (Electricity Exchange) – Best Start Up Business: Trading For Less Than 24 Months Category; and Mark Sheahan (Recycle Right), Shane O’Neill (Sidetrack Media & SONARC), Paul Ryan (HighNelly Bikes Ltd) and Mark Carey (Steamboat Music) – Best Established Business: Trading For More Than 24 Months Category.

The Limerick area element of the IBYE competition has a €50,000 Investment Fund with prizes worth €10,000 for Best New Idea (Best idea for a new business), €20,000 for Best Start Up (Start up has already started but in business 24 months or less) and €20,000 for Best Established (in business more than 24 months). An Overall Winner (Best Young Entrepreneur) will also be selected. The winner of each category will proceed to a regional competition, with the winners from each region progressing to the national stage of the competition, which features an Investment Fund of €100,000 to be shared among the winners.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny launched Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition earlier this year as an integral part of the Action Plan for Jobs. The competition is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices.