A UNIVERSITY of Limerick engineering graduate and entrepreneur has won a place at the first-ever national final of ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition, for a chance to share a €100,000 investment fund.
Paddy Finn, from the Castletroy-based Electricity Exchange, is representing the region in the Best Start-Up category at the national final in Dublin on December 6.
Electricity Exchange Ltd is a new entrant in Ireland’s electricity market and is operated by Dr Finn and Duncan O’Toole.
Based at the Castletroy Commercial Campus, the company aggregates large industrial electricity consumers that have the ability to reduce their consumption of power at short notice.
He has already won €20,000 in investment from the Local Enterprise Office Limerick after being named Limerick’s Best Young Entrepreneur last month.
Launched by the Government earlier this year, Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition is a core part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2014, and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through the 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country.
At the awards ceremony, three local business owners and new start-ups from Limerick, all under the age of 30, went head-to-head with other county winners from Clare, Kerry and Tipperary.
Limerick was represented by Paddy Finn, Aisling Maher of Aisling Maher Fashion Designs, and Aislinn O’Flynn, of Sensomi.
The nominees were interviewed by a three-member judging panel and had to deliver a business pitch live.
Assessed on criteria such as business innovation, job creation potential and financial planning, the announcement of the national finalists was made at a reception held in the Castletroy Park Hotel.
While Mr Finn was named winner of Best Start-Up category, there was double success for Tipperary in the two remaining categories. Philip Martin of Clonmel based Blanco Nino won the ‘Best New Idea’ category, while Tom Ryan of Nenagh based Adsmart was named winner of the ‘Best Established Business with new add-on’ category.
Congratulating the finalists, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, said supporting more businesses to start-up is central to their plans for economic growth and creating jobs.