There was double joy for Co. Roscommon at the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Regional Final held at the Abbey Hotel last Friday with two of the three awards going to Roscommon entrepreneurs.
The award winners were announced by Minister Denis Naughten, with Roscommon’s Kyle McLoughlin and Desmond Dolan picking up awards in the Best Start-Up Business and Best Business Idea categories respectively. The award for Best Established Business went to Nigel O’Reilly, Goldsmith, from Co. Mayo.
The regional winners will now go up against 22 other national finalists in a bid to become Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur and share in a €100,000 winners’ investment fund.
Boyle native Kyle McLoughlin of Posude T/A SubTeacher.ie took the award in the Best Start-Up category.
SubTeacher.ie provides school principals with a resource which enables them to locate substitute teachers at short notice. Posude has also recently replicated the platform for pharmacies seeking locums.
Kyle said he was delighted with the award: “I’m absolutely delighted and shocked, to be honest. The level of business ideas and people here is so high at these competitions. It shows the calibre of people and businesses in the West of Ireland.”
Kyle explained just how SubTeacher.ie works: “Basically we have a platform which allows schools to find teachers at short notice. Schools can go in and create positions as needed and update that information each week. The idea was developed with the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) who have members in 550 schools nationwide.”
Kyle said he was excited about the national finals and had high praise for the Local Enterprise Office.
He said: “Louise Ward and everyone at the Local Enterprise Office has been phenomenal, not just through this process but in general. I find them very approachable and a very good first stop in getting started.”
Desmond Dolan won the award for Best Business Idea in the pre-trading category for his innovative call manager solution, MistCalls. The business is aimed at business owners and provides a service which manages calls, giving owners and staff more time to focus on the business at hand.
Desmond, who hails from Carrick-on-Shannon, said it was a complete shock when MistCalls was announced as a winner.
“I genuinely thought that they called out the wrong name! The whole thing has been a bit of a rollercoaster since Friday,” he said.
Explaining how the idea of MistCalls came to fruition, Desmond said: “It was an idea that came about due to a problem we were having ourselves. It started as an idea on a napkin and now it’s turned into representing Roscommon, Galway and Mayo at Google Headquarters in the national final.”
Desmond also paid tribute to the Local Enterprise Office and Louise Ward for the assistance he was provided in getting his idea off the ground.
He said: “LEO and Louise have been a huge help because for the vast majority of people taking the jump it’s quite daunting.”
Desmond highlighted the importance of the work carried out by LEO in helping young entrepreneurs and business people with the early stages of business plans and the assistance provided to start-up companies.
Looking forward to the weeks ahead, Desmond added: “It’s going to be a fantastic experience. In two weeks I believe we are meeting the Taoiseach and the Minister for Enterprise and then our final pitch ahead of the national final on the Sunday (March 5th) is on the Thursday before.”
Nigel O’Reilly, a goldsmith from Co. Mayo, won the award for Best Established Business for his business, which designs and makes fine jewellery for the fashion industry.
The three regional winners will now go forward to the National Finals, which will take place at Google headquarters on Sunday, March 5th.