Louise Brennan has been selected as the county's overall 'Best Young Entrepreneur' by the Local Enterprise Office Longford.
Thirty-one-year-old Louise, from Fabiani boutique in Longford town, was announced as the winner at the County Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) which took place in Viewmount House recently.
Fabiani has been described as a mecca for shoe and accessory lovers, and entrepreneur Louise, from Cartronmarkey, also won the category for Best Established Business and an investment fund from LEO Longford worth €15,000.
IBYE, which has a €2 million investment fund, is run by all 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland.
The other main category winners on the day were Brian O’Rourke (26) CitySwifter, Kenagh in the Best Start Up category and Rachel Masterson (27), Mast Media, Longford in the Best Business Idea category.
The top prize in the Start-Up category was €15,000, with a top prize of € 7,000 for the Best Business Idea category.
All three category winners will now be representing Longford at one of eight IBYE Regional Finals, taking place during January and February 2017.
Meanwhile, the category runners-up also shared an investment of €13,000 between their three businesses.
They were: Micheál Savage (28), Lir Agri, Longford in the Established Business category; Pauric Connolly (34), Mac’s Shack, Kenagh in the Start Up category and finally, Pierre Delannoy (33), Killoe in the Best Business Idea category.
Michael Nevin, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Longford, said: “We started the search to find Ireland’s best young entrepreneur in August and the competition received a record-breaking number of entries this year, with 1,800 young entrepreneurs applying nationally.
“After a very successful IBYE bootcamp and County Final, the future is bright for both youth entrepreneurship and job creation in the region.”
Special guests at the IBYE County Final included: Cllr Mick Cahill, Cathaoirleach Longford County Council and Cllr Seamus Butler (Judge).
The vital role of the judging panel was also acknowledged at the awards ceremony and this year’s judges included: Cllr Seamus Butler of Butler Manufacturing Services Ltd, Seadna Ryan, Geraldine Stewart from the Business Clinic, Tara Farrell from Longford Women’s Link, Derek Scanlon, The Debt Clinic and Longford Chamber of Commerce and Tracey Tallon of LEO Westmeath.
The Regional Finals for IBYE are taking place in January and February 2017, to select 24 national finalists across the three competition categories.
Further details on the competition and supports available to young entrepreneurs are available through www.localenterprise.ie and from the IBYE website at www.ibye.ie.