“Never wait for someone to do it for you. You need to do it for yourself.”

Winner of the Local Enterprise Office Cork City’s Best Established category was Darren Hickey of D&D Detailing, which developed The Cleaner Car brand, a range of products specifically designed using a safe to use chemical for the car care industry. Darren told us what he learned from his IBYE experience…

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Why did you enter IBYE?
To help launch our safe to use car care brand to world and get it the exposure it needed.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from your IBYE experience?
That I can’t do every little thing myself, and that I need to link up with likeminded people that can help make our business grow.

How do you plan to use the investment you won?
By hiring more staff in 2017 and pushing our brand to max over the next three years.

Any advice to other young entrepreneurs?
Never wait for someone to do it for you. You need to do it for yourself.

“The most valuable thing that IBYE has brought for me is validation of my business ambitions.”

Vincent Forde won IBYE’s Best New Idea category from LEO South Cork and received €7,000 investment in his company, Gasgon Medical, which is a medical device company that supports medical staff in delivering improved patient care, with better outcomes, through collaboration and innovation. He also walked away with the title of ‘Best Young Entrepreneur’ for the South Cork region. We chatted to Vincent ahead of the IBYE Regional Final about his experience…

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Why did you enter IBYE?
It just seemed like the right time to get involved. I’ve been working on my business plan over the last 12 months and I saw this as a really good chance to engage with my Local Enterprise Office, to show them what I was developing and form a relationship. Entering the IBYE just seemed like such a good chance to get to work with the LEOs and take advantage of the mentoring bootcamp that forms part of the first stage. I also saw it as a good way to meet with other entrepreneurs from the Cork area, and maybe nationally, who are on the same journey of developing businesses from seeds of an idea.

My development strategy has been to go after opportunities that add tangible value – it’s very easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of startup life, so picking the right path forward is important. Key to this strategy of scaling rapidly from startup to delivery of product is to build a strong network and, as far as developing the business was concerned, engaging with the IBYE has proven to be a good move. My Local Enterprise Office in South Cork has put me in touch with mentors who have deep knowledge and important industry links that can streamline the path to my goals. The depth of knowledge, support and development opportunities that have opened up already from IBYE are helping to move the business in a more defined direction.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from your IBYE experience?
IBYE has done a lot to build my confidence in what I am doing. The most valuable thing that IBYE has brought for me is validation of my business ambitions. The challenge of starting a business can be daunting so it’s good to pitch to experienced judges and know that others share the vision too, find out what works or not, then get better at delivering on that vision. Regardless of whether I progressed through the competition I knew that every interaction with experienced business mentors and judges would help to add value to my plans.

How do you plan to use the investment you won?
In this early stage of the business these funds will be well utilised in prototype development and validation of product concepts, including 3D printing, fabrication, testing and optimising. The investment will help with legal and accounting service costs, as well as development of a website so Gasgon Medical will soon have a home on the web.

Also, in the next 12 months I intend to be traveling a lot to trade shows, to establish links with potential customers and to source suitable manufacturing partners.

Any advice to other young entrepreneurs?
Working alongside entrepreneurs with very different business models, it is clear that similar challenges and rewards are there no matter the opportunity you are chasing. It’s been really helpful to work alongside other start-ups and develop a network – it’s amazing the opportunities that appear when you start talking! Ireland is a small place and you are never more than a few conversations from getting to meet your ideal client or finding a strategic partner, so the most valuable thing you can do is just get talking! Be careful with your information, treat every conversation like a job interview because you never know where it will take you!

The most important thing though is – just go for it! That dream, that idea, you have to believe that you can make it happen, because if you believe then you will find very quickly that the supports are there to help you along the way and you will have a lot of fun making your dreams come true!

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“The IBYE competition was an excellent opportunity to get help working on my business plan.”

Fiona Edwards Murphy won LEO Cork North & West’s Best New Idea category and also walked away with the title of ‘Best Young Entrepreneur’ for the Cork North and West region in December. Fiona’s business Apis Protect helps beekeepers to prevent losses and increase the productivity of their hives through the use of unique in hive sensors and data processing technology.

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Why did you enter IBYE?
I was recommended to apply to IBYE by the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme, which I’m currently participating in. I thought it would be a good opportunity to gain some experience pitching my business idea, and a great opportunity to network with the other young entrepreneurs in my area and throughout Ireland.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from your IBYE experience?
The IBYE competition was an excellent opportunity to get help working on my business plan. It’s now much more developed in areas like marketing and financials. The workshops at the business bootcamp were excellent for improving our business model, and practising our presentation and pitching skills.

How do you plan to use the investment you won?
We’re planning to use the investment towards our pilot deployment of our hive monitoring technology in over 200 hives internationally. This is a vital step for us to evaluate the market, and start building up a widespread database of honey bee information.

Any advice to other young entrepreneurs?
Get involved in your local networking events for entrepreneurs, such as those run by your Local Enterprise Office! I’m always surprised by how many other people are working on starting a business too, and it’s helpful to talk to and get advice from people who are going through the same experiences you are.

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“It is so valuable and worthwhile to meet with your peers and to discuss each other’s businesses.”

Paul Moore from Rebel Chilli walked away with the title of Best Start Up Business from the Local Enterprise Office Cork City, and is now gearing up for the IBYE Regional Final this Thursday. We chatted to him to find out how IBYE has benefited him so far…

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Why did you enter IBYE?
I entered IBYE for two reasons. The first was for the chance to win some funds to propel the business even further, as well as the exposure that comes with being in the competition. The second was to compete against the best young entrepreneurs in the country to see how I compare, to meet and chat with them, and to share experiences. We all have very different businesses, but we share the same problems.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from your IBYE experience?
The biggest thing I’ve learned is that it is so valuable and worthwhile to meet with your peers and to discuss each other’s businesses. This way, you see how people overcame problems and issues, and how you could apply this to your own business. Entrepreneurship can be quite isolating, so it’s good to have a good network of people that you can talk to.

How do you plan to use the investment you won?
Ideally, I will use the investment to hire someone part-time, with a view to making them full-time. I need to fully pin down the job description and responsibilities before advertising! Other than that, there are a lot of trade shows and events that can be quite expensive to attend, so I will use the funds to book into some of these. Also, the money will allow us to bulk buy raw materials, which will reduce the burden on the business.

Any advice to other young entrepreneurs?
Talk and talk and talk to other entrepreneurs if you have an idea or are just looking for advice. You will learn so much for free. I’m always willing to talk to anyone, and I know the other participants are the same. Also, if you have an idea and want to give it a go, do it. The worst thing that will happen is it doesn’t work out, but at least you tried.

“One aspect of IBYE that stands out the most is the access to a network of like-minded individuals.”

Pundit Arena’s Richard Barrett’s IBYE story started back in 2014 when he was named LEO South Cork’s South Cork Entrepreneur of The Year. He had the opportunity to enter this year’s competition in a new category, and walked away with the title of Best Established Business. We chatted to him about his evolving IBYE story…

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Why did you enter IBYE?
Back in 2014, I was lucky enough to be crowned South Cork Entrepreneur of The Year. This accolade and the prize fund that came with it changed my business. It enabled us to hire our first ever full-time employee and I’m delighted that he is still an important member of the Pundit Arena team today.

IBYE has always had a positive influence on Pundit Arena and when the opportunity came up to enter IBYE again in a new category, I wanted to challenge myself to see how far we had come in two short years. Thankfully, we were successful and it was a great recognition of our work.

IBYE is a life-changing experience and one that has aided Pundit Arena’s expansion massively.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from your IBYE experience?
I have earned a huge amount from my experience with IBYE but the one aspect of it that stands out the most is the access to a network of like-minded individuals. The bootcamp weekend enabled me to share the highs and lows of the startup world with my peers, many of whom were going through a lot of the same stuff that I had encountered.

As the saying goes; if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.

How do you plan to use the investment you won?
We are using the investment fund to increase our sales force in order to generate higher revenues. We have already hired the person tasked with that part of the business and we’re really excited about the impact he will have on Pundit Arena in 2017 and beyond.

Any advice to other young entrepreneurs?
I have learned a lot over the last three and a half years, but the one commonality between all successful entrepreneurs is perseverance. There will be ups and downs, there will be dark days, but it’s important to just keep working hard throughout every storm. Don’t sweat the small things, just focus on the vision and keep on going. You’ll get there eventually.

“There are great resources available to help young people get started in business.”

Nuala Carey won the Best Established Business category from LEO Cork North & West for her business, Glengarriff Pharmacy. We asked her to share her IBYE experience…

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Why did you enter IBYE?
I entered IBYE as I saw it as an opportunity to learn something new.  I am a pharmacist and I have been working in community pharmacy for over nine years now, but I do not have any formal business training as such.  I was really just hoping to learn more about how to grow the business to ultimately enhance our services to the community and to improve the health of our community.

What is the biggest thing you have learned from your IBYE experience?
The biggest thing I have learned from the experience is that there are great resources available to help young people get started in business.

How do you plan to use the investment you won?
I plan to use the investment I won to develop an online presence for my business in the shape of an online blog and an ecommerce site.

Any advice to other young entrepreneurs?
Ask for help if you need it.  There are so many resources available through the Local Enterprise Offices and so many people willing to help.

“I am delighted to say that we have already allocated a large portion of the investment towards our first hire!”

Ahead of the IBYE Regional Final which takes place on Thursday, January 19th we asked the Cork winners to share their IBYE experience. First up is Michael Sheehan from Milis Bio

Michael won the Best New Idea category from LEO Cork City competition, receiving an investment of €7,000 in his company. Michael also walked away with the title of ‘Best Young Entrepreneur’ for the Cork City region.

Michael’s business Milis Bio is making novel proteins to act as healthy flavouring ingredients for the food and beverage industry, starting with a sin-free sweetener.

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So Michael, why did you enter IBYE?
IBYE was recommended to us by some friends in the startup environment in Cork, and we then stumbled across the application again when looking through the Local Enterprise Office website.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from your IBYE experience?
The most valuable thing that we have learned I think would be an updated and more advanced understanding of the business model canvas, as well as how to tackle some of the trickier elements of a business plan such as financial assumptions and projections. These can be notoriously difficult for a young startup without experience of our own to draw upon, so the mentorship that came hand in hand with our involvement in IBYE was invaluable and will undoubtedly pay further dividends in future as we look to grow and raise funding.

How do you plan to use the investment you won?
I am delighted to say that we have already allocated a large portion of the investment towards our first hire! Mr Diarmuid Cahill has joined our business development team to help bring the company into our first round of funding smoothly. While the position is at present an operations internship role, we all hope that this will develop into a full time COO role provided the internship goes to plan. The rest of the funding will go towards Intellectual property protection, again a crucial expense for a biotech company such as ours.

Any advice to other young entrepreneurs?
Go for it! I fully believe that there is no greater way to capitalise on your position as a young Irish person than to pursue that great idea you’ve been sitting on, with support from world-leading initiatives such as IBYE and the fantastic people at your LEO who are dying to help you make it a reality.