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Irelands Best Young Entrepreneur #IBYE



Aisling Cunningham, from Carndonagh, winner of the established business category in last year’s competition for her company Powder ‘N’ Pout


With applications for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur due to close on the 14th October, a young Donegal businesswoman who scooped a major award in last year’s competition has urged entrepreneurs in Donegal aged between 18 and 35 to make sure they apply this year.


Aisling Cunningham from Carndonagh, won the established business category in last year’s competition for her company Powder ‘N’ Pout.  “The advice and support I got after I had entered has been fantastic.  They really pointed me in the right direction and put me in contact with people I needed to talk to and that helped me a huge amount.”


The Young Entrepreneur contest includes categories for start up and for established businesses as well as for ideas.  Local winners in the past Christy Lynch of Efficient Renewables (best Established Business) and Pete Friel of Chartered Education (best Start Up) echoed Aisling’s praise for the contest.


“Any new ideas we would have now our first point of contact is always with LEO because they will always help you in the right direction, let you know what is out there and let you know what is available.  Any bit of mentoring at all that you can get is a help and there is plenty there that you can get for established businesses as well as new businesses.  It is great for helping your business along and making you progress,” said Christy.


All of the finalists in last year’s local competition were so thrilled with the training and assistance they had received that many said they felt like winners, irrespective of who actually took the various titles.  And while there is significant money to be won – there is €50,000 in total up for grabs for the category winners in Donegal - past category winners are certainly fulsome in their praise for the competition’s other huge benefit.  “One of the most positive aspects of becoming involved in the competition was the Boot Camp, also the mentoring I received as part of the process.  I have to say that my ideas were constructively challenged, and I received valuable feedback that I can use to develop a more sustainable business model and something that will create a much more solid business in the long run,” said Pete.


Head of Enterprise in Donegal Local Enterprise Office, Michael Tunney said that the feedback from applicants last year was that the Business Bootcamps had been of tremendous assistance.  “It is a nice incentive for applicants to try and capture the investment prizes, but even if they don’t, taking part in the Business Bootcamps will help them fine tune their business plans, learn new enterprise skills and avail of the highest quality one to one mentoring and business coaching.”  But, he stressed that the deadline for the competition is fast approaching and he urged the county’s young entrepreneurs to get their applications in before the October 14th deadline.


Applications can be made online at but anyone seeking more information before submitting their application can call Donegal Local Enterprise Office: 07491 60735 or email [email protected]


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