You're never too young to become an entrepreneur

You're never too young to become an entrepreneur
By Ian Cameron ian.cameron@dundalkdemocrat.ie @IanAlexCameron

“You’re never too young to become an entrepreneur,” declared Thomas McEvoy, Louth’s Head of Enterprise.

“We meet these potential young entrepreneurs every day through our work in the Local Enterprise Office”, he added.

Louth’s Student Enterprise Programme for secondary schools is experiencing record numbers of young entrepreneurs. Peggy McGlynn of the Local Enterprise Office manages the Student Enterprise Programme.

“Numbers participating in the programme this year have increased by over 25%. We now have in excess of 1,000 students in 18 schools in Louth taking part. Through the programme students learn to develop business ideas, conduct market research, source materials and produce their products, design their packaging and marketing literature, sell their product to the public and manage their company finances. They also learn how to work as a team and develop their confidence in sales. These are valuable business and enterprise skills and will be useful to them whether they choose to work for someone else or set up their own business.”

Louth’s student entrepreneurs are busy building their mini-companies now and are preparing for the County Final which takes on March 7th as the finale to Local Enterprise Week 2017.

But it’s not just Louth’s students who are innovating and creating. Despite being the smallest county, Louth had one of the highest levels of entries in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) 2016.

Sarah Mallon of the Local Enterprise Office manages the competition for Louth.

“We are thrilled with the number of entries from Louth in the 2016 competition.

“We worked hard to reach out to young entrepreneurs across the county, encouraging and supporting them to participate.

“The competition is a brilliant way to win investment for your business but also to access superb business advice and mentoring.”

“50% of the applications came from female entrepreneurs this year.

“This is a massive increase and represents a gender balance in applications for the first time since the competition began in 2014.

“The greatest number of applications received was in the Start Up category.

“These are new companies that have gone beyond the business idea stage and started trading.

“This is a great sign as it indicates that the Start Up sector in the county is dynamic, vibrant and feeling optimistic about the future.”

The IBYE County Finals will take place on Tuesday 13th December at Bellingham Castle where a county winner will be announced in each category.

“Each will win investment in their business plus additional business support as they move forward to the Regional Finals in January.

“The future of enterprise is looking bright in Louth. We’re in great hands with our student and youth entrepreneurs and we at the Local Enterprise Office Louth will keep supporting their development and growth,” Thomas concluded.

The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Louth is based at the Town Hall in Dundalk with a presence in Drogheda and is part of Louth County Council.

It offers supports to entrepreneurs and SMEs through advice, training, mentoring and finance. For more information about the supports available visit www.LocalEnterprise.ie/Louth