Tipperary Entrepreneurs are winners at Regional Final for Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur

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karen.ogrady@midlandtribune.ie

Competing for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur in the upcoming National Final taking place in Google HQ in September will be Cathal Bourke, Bourke Sports based in Borrisoleigh and Sharon Cunningham, Shorla Pharma Limited based in Clonmel.

Bourke Sports founded by Cathal Bourke, is an Irish Sports Company that designs, manufactures and supplies high performance sportswear and sports equipment. The Company strives to bring premium quality products to market at affordable prices, whilst offering clubs a complete order management system which removes all the typical inconveniences associated with ordering sportswear.

Shorla Pharma Limited, MD Sharon Cunningham founded the Company along with co-founder Orlaith Ryan, both previously worked at EirGen Pharma, Waterford. Shorla is a specialty pharmaceutical company developing innovative therapies in the oncology space, with a particular interest in both women’s and pediatric health. The Company is currently at research and development stage with a view to bringing commercial products to global markets.

James O’Brien, Reel Time Rivers Limited, Tipperary Town, represented Tipperary in the Best Business Idea category. James set up Reel Time Rivers with co-founder Padraig Moore to help the angling community with information shortfalls. RTR is the only SAS product that caters for anglers, displaying real-time river information, enabling them to decide where and when to go fishing.

Clare, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary’s “Best Young Entrepreneurs’ were announced at an awards ceremony hosted by Limerick’s Local Enterprise Offices at The Castletroy Park Hotel. The winners were chosen from 12 finalists. Over 1,600 applications were received nationally in the competition, which was launched earlier this year by the LEO’s as part of a nationwide search to find “Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE).

Now in its fifth year, IBYE is a nationwide campaign to celebrate Ireland’s young entrepreneurs and is open to individuals aged 18 to 35 who have an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business.

24 contenders (three from each region nationally - one in each category) will be selected to compete for the national title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur on Sunday September 15 at Google HQ Dublin. A further €100,000 investment fund will be available to invest in the winners of the three categories at the national final - one of which will also be named as “Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur”.

Eight regional finals are taking place across the country over the next few weeks in the search for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2019. Previously LEO Tipperary national finalists include Philip Martin of Blanco Nino who won a National title in the Best New Idea in 2014 and the following year was a National Finalist in the Start-up category.

The Clare, Kerry, Limerick & Tipperary Regional final was attended by Cllr Sarah Kiely, Deputy Mayor of Limerick and Patrick O’Donovan Minister of State at the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with special responsibility for Public Procurement, Open Government and e-Government who presented the awards. Among the special guests at the awards ceremony were keynote speaker Mr Pat McDonagh, CEO of Supermacs and owner of the Castletroy Park Hotel. Also present on the night were representatives from Clare, Kerry, Limerick & Tipperary County Councils and Local Enterprise Offices. Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council attended on the night along with Pat Slattery, Director of Community & Economic Development, Tipperary County Council. Joe MacGrath congratulated all entrants and said that “IBYE provides a valuable opportunity to recognise the innovation, determination and commitment of our young entrepreneurs. This year’s Regional Final has shown that entrepreneurship is alive and well in Tipperary. My very best wishes to Cathal Bourke and Sharon Cunningham who will now go on to represent our County and Region in the National Finals.”

The ‘Best Business Idea’ category was won by Eoghan Mulcahy founder of Deepseek, Limerick. Utilizing the latest in drone and artificial intelligence technologies, Deepseek is developing an innovative solution that will increase the efficiency and success rate of rescue teams.

The winner of the ‘Best Start-Up Business’ category was Sharon Cunningham, founder of Shorla Pharma Ltd, Clonmel. Shorla is a speciality pharmaceutical company developing innovative therapies in the oncology space, with a particular interest in both women’s and paediatric health. The company is currently at research and development stage with a view to bringing commercial products to global markets.

The title of ‘Best Established Business’ went to Cathal Bourke, founder of Bourke Sports, Borrisoleigh. Bourke Sports is an Irish sports company that designs, manufactures and supplies high performance sportswear and sports equipment.

The Local Enterprise Office Tipperary was represented by Mary Ryan, Senior Enterprise Development Officer, saying: “We see the IBYE initiative as an important springboard for our young entrepreneurs who want to start or expand a business. We are excited to see what will be in-store for our regional winners and we wish them every success in the upcoming national finals! IBYE is a remarkable platform that we hope will encourage and grow further young entrepreneurship and job creation in the region.”

The Local Enterprise Office is funded by the Irish Government and by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020. Let’s talk business!

Stay up to date with the competition by following on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube. Find out more about supports available to entrepreneurs of all ages by visiting www.localenterprise.ie.

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