“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…

CORK City Best Start Up Paul Moore Rebel Chilli 1.JPG

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…

CORK South Best Established Business Winner Richard Barrett_01.JPG

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…

nuala-carey

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.

cork-city-best-idea-michael-sheehan01

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.

“The IBYE process makes for a great experience in many aspects of forming a start-up and running your own business”

ibye-1

Jack Crotty, founder and owner of The Rocket Man won Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur “Best Existing Business” category from the Local Enterprise Office Cork City in 2015. He told us a little about how his business has grown and what’s next….

The Rocket Man Food Company will celebrate its 5th birthday in March 2017. What started as a farmers market stall has grown to a company employing 15, many of whom are full time and has a network of up to 40 local producers on our books.

Our second Cork City location E A S T is almost a year old and trade is great.

Our next moves are as usual a big secret, but for the time being focuses are being put on our existing outlets to polish and reinvent some of our offerings.

IBYE is not only a great chance for financial assistance, the process also makes for a great experience and vital training in many aspects of forming a start-up and running your own business. I couldn’t recommend it more.

dk08102015-leo-035