Cllr. Colm Markey, Cathaoirleach (Chairman) of Louth County Council, presents the trophy for the Best Established Business to Nikki Reddy of Celtic Adventures.
Nikki Reddy of Celtic Adventures has scooped a coveted place in the National Final of the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition.
The winner in the Best Established Business category, Celtic Adventures have grown from a summer activity provider to a thriving outdoor adventure company offering both schools and corporate programmes to clients right across the country.
Six months of planning, preparation and competition came to a head last night at the Regional Finals of the IBYE as County winners from Cavan, Louth, Monaghan and Meath each challenged for a coveted place in the National Finals which will take place at the Google offices on Sunday 4th March.
The event was hosted by Local Enterprise Office Louth, part of Louth County Council and host for the night, LMFM’s Gerry Kelly, welcomed Mayors, Chathaoirligh, Chief Executives, TDs, Councillors and guests to the Ballymascanlon Hotel.
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Gerry called each of the 12 finalists to stage individually and interviewed them about their business and their future. The audience were so impressed by their performance and agreed that while these entrepreneurs may be young, all aged under 35, they demonstrate that Ireland’s future is in great hands.
Throughout the competition, the young entrepreneurs have received expert mentoring and support, assistance with their business plans, coaching, investment and encouragement.
Ahead of Tuesday evening’s ceremony, each finalist had to present their businesses to a panel of judges featuring Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Connor Sweeney, InterTrade Ireland and Lorraine Bowen from The Entrepreneurs Academy. Judges had already scored their business plans. Finalists emerged from interviews exhausted, elated and excited, the interview was the final hurdle between them and the National Finals.
Secondary school teacher Mark Baldwin of GloboPod was named winner of the Best Business Idea category. Mark’s invention is an affordable Virtual Reality learning support, bringing students to experience historical sites and geographical locations across the country as part of classroom-based learning. This method moves away from old style text books and into experiential learning. Mark, who hails from Enfield in Co. Meath narrowly edged out Louth’s Colin Marry of The Bacon Tour but the judges were highly impressed by the ambitious plans for Colin’s innovative business idea.
Perhaps the most hotly contested category was the Best Start Up Business. Louth’s Evelyn Garland was hotly tipped for this title but was pipped at the post by Cavan’s Jessica Kavanagh of Olann. From her workshop, Jessica creates a range of sophisticated coloured yarns from ethically sourced materials.
Aimed at 18 to 35-year-olds, the IBYE initiative is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) nationwide, and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.
Find out how Mark, Jessica and Nikki get in the National Finals by following the IBYE competition on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and on www.IBYE.ie.
Pictured (from left): Nikki Reddy of Celtic Adventures, Winner of Best Established Business, Jessica Kavanagh of Olann Winner of Best Start-Up Business and Mark Baldwin of Glopod Winner of Best Business Idea at Regional IBYE 2018 Awards.