Tipperary's “best young entrepreneur” has been named by Local Enterprise Office Tipperary as Jennifer Nickerson from Tipperary Boutique Distillery Ltd in Cahir.
Jennifer also won the category for Best Start up and an investment fund from LEO Tipperary worth €15,000.
The County's best young entrepreneurs were announced at the County Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which took place in the Peppermill, Nenagh on Thursday last December 15.
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.
Jennifer Nickerson is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a MA Hons in Business and Accounting. After graduation she worked for several years with KPMG in Ireland where she advised companies on domestic and international tax matters. With two others she has started Tipperary Boutique Distillery a new but growing entrant into the Irish whiskey market. This business has recently received planning permission to establish a distillery on Ballindoney farm in Cahir. The long-term aim of this business is to produce an Irish whiskey exclusively from Tipperary barley and Tipperary water, distilled and matured in Tipperary.
The other main category winners on the evening were Andy Spillane, T/a Savvy Kitchens, Thurles in the Best Established Business and Paddy Moynihan, Unibooks from Loughmore in the Best New Idea category.
Andy Spillane established his business T/a Savvy Kitchens in 2007. His Company based in Thurles designs, manufactures and installs bespoke fitted furniture for both the private and commercial sectors. In-house manufacturing of in-frame doors gives Savvy a unique advantage over competitors as it allows more flexibility with sizes and reduced lead times. Savvy Kitchens has in place a specialised in house team which includes Designers, CNC operators, Cabinet makers and Fitters who work to exacting standards to produce unique furniture solutions for the high end consumer market. The Promoter has appeared on the RTE Series “Room to Improve” on a several occasions and has completed a number of high profile contracts in Cardiff, Belfast, London and other export markets.
Paddy Moynihan is a graduate of mechanical engineering in NUIG and his business is Unibooks. Unibooks is an online portal created to facilitate 3rd level students to buy, rent and sell academic literature to and from one another. There are currently over 250,000 students enrolled in third level education in Ireland, and Unibooks, is the only service in the country which is specifically designed to allow students to trade their academic literature with each other. Unibooks is a membership based, online store style service where members can search for, request, sell, buy and organise trades of academic literature. The top prize in the Best Established Business category was € 15,000, with a top prize of €7,000 for the Best New Idea category. All three category winners will now be representing Tipperary at Mid West IBYE Regional Finals, taking place in Ennis in early 2017.
Meanwhile, the three category runners-up between them shared an investment of €13,000 for their respective businesses. The runners up were: Enda Maher, Capital Transport and Shipping Ltd, Roscrea in the Best Established Business category; Evie Ward, Nutshed Ltd, Nenagh in the Best Start up category and finally, Marian Kennedy, PPR Brand, Clonmel in the Best New Idea category.
In her address at the awards ceremony, Rita Guinan, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Tipperary 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 and 47 locally. After a very successful IBYE bootcamp and County Final, the future is looking bright for both youth entrepreneurship and job creation in the County.”
Special guests at the IBYE County Final included: Cllr Mattie Ryan, Tipperary County Council who represented Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council Cllr Siobhan Ambrose, Tipperary County Council, Chief Executive, Joe MacGrath, Sinead Carr, Director of Community and Economic Development, Tipperary County Council and Sinead O’Dwyer, Pressure Welding Manufacturing Ltd, Thurles who was the 2015 Tipperary Best Young Entrepreneur.
The vital role of the judging panel was also acknowledged at the awards ceremony and this year’s judges included: Vincent Reynolds retired Head of Enterprise, Cavan County Council, Mary Fogarty, Retail & Business Manager AIB Tipperary and Michael Hanley, retired Head of Enterprise, Cork North and West. 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.