In search of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur

The search for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) is on. The closing date for applications is October 14, 2016. 
Four former IBYE winners recently met with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. and talked about the role IBYE has played in their business success stories.
The four previous IBYE award winners run businesses from the worlds of technology, food, waste management and retail.

James Keogh (Wicklow) from Rathwood Home & Garden World Ltd.; Isolde Johnson (Dublin City) from The Cool Bean Company; Niall Mimnagh (Longford) from Mimergy; and Rhona Togher (Sligo) from Restored Hearing Ltd. have all won IBYE awards over the last two years 
As winners, they received investment funding, business boot camp places, and one-to-one mentoring sessions. 
“I want to promote entrepreneurship as a career choice, and to encourage young people to set up new businesses which will ultimately create and sustain more jobs right across the country,” says Minister O’Connor. “It is so refreshing to hear the success stories from these inspiring and ambitious young entrepreneurs.”
What is the IBYE, what’s involved? 
Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is a programme open to people between the ages of 18 (at the date of application) and 35 (at 31st December 2016) with a great business idea. Entrants can be: 

Venture teams
Existing businesses with a new idea
People overseas (including Irish emigrants) who will headquarter in Ireland

Each Local Enterprise Office (LEO) runs a competition in each county (Friday, October 14 is the closing date) aimed at finding winners in each of the three categories as well as an overall county winner. 
Each LEO will have a total fund of up to €50,000 to invest in six businesses (three category winners and three runners-up).

The three categories are:
1: Best business idea (pre-trading) – up to €10,000 investment fund through every LEO (€7,000 for category winner and €3,000 for runner-up,

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Seven signs you’re a workaholic

Do you skip holidays, shun hobbies or constantly check emails on your work phone? If the answer is yes, you could be addicted to your job. 
If you are starting or growing or running a business, it is often impossible to avoid long hours and high levels of pressure. However, this kind of stress isn’t good, no matter how ‘macho’ it is perceived to be. Below are seven signs you may be harming your most valuable asset – your health.
1.    You bring your job home
Passion and dedication are key elements to success in any role. However, it’s also important to have a place away from work where we can unwind; this is usually found at home. While it may sometimes be necessary to bring a piece of work home when a deadline is approaching, when a person starts doing it on a regular basis it could be a sign, they are addicted to their job.  
2.    Not being in work makes you anxious 
Nerves can be good; they can keep you sharp and are a good indication that you care about what you’re doing. However, if you experience anxiety simply because you are away from your desk and are unable to enjoy yourself after hours, there’s a good chance you’re a workaholic. 
3.    You skip holidays 
It’s great to be able to say you love your job, but everyone needs a break now and then. Of course, getting time off can sometimes prove tricky, but if you actively avoid taking holidays instead of more work, you could have a problem.

4.    You don’t take sick days
Having a clean slate where it comes to sick days is commendable. However, if working through an illness puts your health or that of others at risk, you may well be addicted to your job. 

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Think pensions with ThinkBusiness

There has never been a better time to start a pension. If you plan to retire well, it’s never too early (or late) to think about a pension.
There are different types of pensions. A pension is the most tax efficient way you can save money. Also, if you are an employer, you are legally obliged to allow staff access to a standard PRSA arrangement. Your first port of call when investing in a pension is to talk to a bank or to an authorised pension adviser. Below is a quick guide to the types of pensions available to you.  

Personal retirement savings account (PRSA)
Certain financial providers, including banks, building societies, insurance companies, and authorised investment firms, provide PRSAs. The money paid into a PRSA is invested in pooled investment funds, which are provided by unit trusts and some life assurance companies.
Anyone may open a PRSA, irrespective of whether they are working or not. However, only people who are self-employed, or who are employees not covered under an occupational pension scheme, may claim tax relief on contributions made to a PRSA.
Generally, the benefits under a PRSA may be taken between the ages of 60 to 75.  Access before the age of 60 is allowed in the event of ill health or certain other limited circumstances. If the PRSA owner dies, the PRSA fund forms part of the owner’s estate and is administered in accordance with the provisions of the owner’s will.
On retirement, the PRSA owner may withdraw up to 25% of the fund in cash, up to a maximum of €200,000 in cash. The remainder of the benefits are payable as follows:

The balance of the fund may be left in the PRSA (which becomes a “vested” PRSA) and used to make future withdrawals. These withdrawals will be subject to income tax and USC.
Alternatively, the fund

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Agri Life – the pulse of a farming nation

‘Younger farmers are more ambitious, with three in five (61%) of those aged under 50 planning to grow the business over the coming years’ – Dr Loretta O’Sullivan.
Four in ten (43%) farmers plan to expand their farms over the next one to three years, with a similar number (44%) indicating that they would prefer the farm to remain the same size, and 13% intending to scale down.
New research, conducted for Bank of Ireland’s ‘Agri Pulse’, surveyed farmers on a range of topics including farm output, input costs, market prices, their investment plans and business ambitions.
One in four farmers (25%) expect to see an increase in output over the next 12 months, with 62% expecting no change. One in three (31%) saw an increase in farm output over the past 12 months, with half (52%) seeing the same output.

More investment
The Agri Pulse points to broadly positive sentiment among the farmers that participated in the study. One in four (24%) expect to increase investment in the farm in the next 12 months, with 59% keeping the same level. Replacing and upgrading buildings, equipment and vehicles and purchasing livestock are the main focus, with investment in new farm buildings, land and equipment and vehicles also cited (especially by dairy farmers). The majority plan on spending up to €50,000.
“The results show that a large number of farming businesses are on a growth track. While most of those planning on expanding over the next one to three years are likely to do so cautiously, the rest are set to actively pursue opportunities to grow. Younger farmers are more ambitious, with three in five (61%) of those aged under 50 planning to grow the business over the coming years,” says Dr Loretta O’Sullivan, group chief economist, Bank of Ireland.

The pressure points
The data points to some pressures on the input

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Pink Kong’s great adventure

‘We are passionate about the content we are developing and believe our work can compete on the international stage’ – Niamh Herrity.
Dublin animation company, Pink Kong Studios, was co-founded in 2014 by producer Niamh Herrity and creative director Aoífe Doyle. Here, Niamh Herrity talks about building a business in one of the most creative, yet competitive, industries in the world.
Our business idea was to build a scaled, commercially strong business producing high-end animated content for worldwide viewers. 
This past year has been great. I won a Dublin City Women in Business Network ‘High Potential Business’ award. The company was shortlisted in the Bank of Ireland national startup awards in two different categories, and our short film ‘Meanwhile on the train’ won awards on the international film festival circuit.
We’ve just completed a short film, ‘Urban Tails’, commissioned by RTÉ Animated Short Schemes to be aired Autumn 2016. And we are really excited to have been awarded funding from The Irish Film Board to do a short film which is currently in preproduction.  
Being accepted into Cartoon Forum is an excellent way to get your project in front of the eyes of the industry. We had previously applied without success; the competition is fierce so that disappointed us in the past. However, we kept going, building on our ideas and are delighted to be pitching this year.
I think whenever there are setbacks you should allow yourself to take that moment to be disappointed; it is human nature. Consider it and then move on. Life is full of hurdles, so you just need to learn how to take it on board, make adjustments and not get too bogged down by it. Day to day stress is different to ‘setback’ stress. Planning your day and setting tasks helps combat the stress of the things you need

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Starting as a sole trader in Ireland

Here are five of the most important first steps you should take when starting in business as a sole trader.
Register with Revenue
First, you need to register with Revenue as a self-employed sole trader. This is your primary legal obligation as a sole trader. You can register online. 
In general, it’s advised that you hire a good accountant to help you with your tax and annual returns. Here’s an article on how to hire the right accountant.
Open a bank account
Then you need to open a bank account. Bank of Ireland allows sole traders to apply online for a business current account. It just takes a few minutes.
Arrange an overdraft
Talk to your bank about an overdraft. It’s important that you have an open working relationship with your bank and agree on an overdraft amount that can help with your cash flow. Here’s an excellent article about cash flow management. 

Have a cash flow plan 
It is also vital to have a cash flow plan. You can download a free cash flow planner here. It’s easy to use, and it will be good to show your bank manager when you require a loan or an overdraft. 
Protect your income
One of the most important things to consider if you are a sole trader is income protection. If for some reason, you can’t work for a period due to illness or injury, you’ll be glad you have income protection.
Remember, being a sole trader means you work for yourself, but you don’t have to work by yourself and carry every burden. A good bank manager, a good accountant, solid insurance and good legal advice (if you need it) will go a long way to ensuring you grow your business. 
READ MORE: A one-page tax guide on being a sole trader in Ireland.

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Are these Ireland’s friendliest businesses?

The Friendly Business Awards are organised and hosted by Junior Chambers Ireland Dublin. Here we talk to some of the winners about their journeys so far, and what it means to be a ‘friendly business’.

Counter Culture: Overall Winner
The initial idea for Counter Culture, a trendy restaurant on Dublin’s Mercer Street specialising in healthy food, came while owner Ronan Ryan was in the States. “I visited a restaurant in Washington DC called ‘The Protein Bar’ and was blown away by the concept,” he explains. While the concept was not directly transferable to Dublin, he liked the idea of offering Irish consumers a healthy alternative to salads. “I liked the idea of offering people a hot, substantial food offering as opposed to the usual salad boxes.”
Like the other businesses who were honoured, a customer-focused approach to doing things has been a key ingredient to Counter Culture’s success. “Encouraging staff to get to know customers is the primary focus. Once you get beyond ‘weather chat’ it’s plain sailing after that.”
Ronan (grey shirt) is pictured with MC for the event, Maria Walsh; Chambers Ireland Dublin President, Ronan Neacy; Pamela Flood; and Michael McLoughlin, Head of Business Banking for Dublin Central. 

Bodyfirst Nutrition: Winner – Digital Experience 
“I’ve always been into training and taking supplements, all the way back to when I was in college,” says Ray Shah, owner of Bodyfirst Nutrition (pictured in the blue suit).  
In 2011 the former reality TV star and radio host started taking his training seriously and began purchasing supplements in a shop on the Southside of the city where his girlfriend worked. “I was living in Raheny, and one day I asked myself; why am I driving to the Southside of the city to buy this stuff? I was driving by Clontarf and could see big guys coming out of the

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Starting a business when you are older

Smart ageing – now is the time to prepare and support those over 50 who want to start a business.
There will be over one million people living in Ireland aged 65 and over by 2031. 
The enormous demographic changes that will occur in Ireland over the next 15 years will change the entire social, cultural and economic landscape of the country. 
According to 2016 figures from Social Justice Ireland, there will be at least one million over-65s in Ireland by 2031. “Now is the time to plan for this dramatic change,” says Michelle Murphy, research and policy analyst with the agency.
As well as the need for primary and community health services, in every community, there is also the need for better access to learning and employment for the over 50s, says Murphy.
Investment in rural broadband should be a vital priority for every community in Ireland. 
Wise and willing
Research by Amarach shows that 44% of respondents over 50 would be interested in a course to help them develop ideas and the skills to start their own business.
In fact, more than one in five over 50s had some experience of setting up their own business and 17% of those with experience set up their business when aged over 50.
There are supports available for people over 50 who want to start a business. 
Visit: The Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange.
Also visit: The Ingenuity programme for entrepreneurs aged 50+.
READ MORE: It’s never too late to start.
Did you know?
Charles Flint was 61 when he founded IBM. 
In Ireland, Peter Cullen founded Aran Candy in 1997 with his son Richard when he was 50 after an earlier venture failed. The business was sold for €15.5 million in 2014.

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Avoid these mistakes when growing a business

Starting a business is a good thing, but success is not always guaranteed.
In June 2016, Niall McGarry, founder of Maximum Media expressed his frustration about Ireland’s startup culture and the notion that just because a new company raises money, it is seen as a success. 
“Startups: Getting funding is not success! Success is attained through proving your business model by achieving sustainable profitability,” he said on Twitter. 
He went on to warn that new companies shouldn’t ‘celebrate’ raising funds because raising money is not proof of a business model. 
“People should look to create a business not a startup,” he declared.
McGarry, himself a successful business person, is, of course, correct.
Eleanor McEvoy, CEO of Budget Energy Northern Ireland says that success in business is all about the balance sheet, it’s about making money and having sustainable cash flow. 
“You have to remember that success in business is all the bottom line. It’s about making money, not feeding your self-image. If it’s ego you are after, you’d be better off doing something else.”
While running a business can be rewarding, for most, it is an experience fraught with threats. A new business is most vulnerable during its first few years of growing pains. 
Below are five ways to give your business the best chance of growth. 

Choose your partner (s) carefully
It’s a good idea to go into business with another person. If they are your friend or a family member, make sure everyone knows what’s involved and what could happen before you start. Many businesses have been started by siblings, and many families have ‘rifts’ as a result. 
Sign an agreement that sets out the rights and obligations of each partner. You may trust your business partner at the start, but things can change quite quickly as the firm either starts making money or losing money. 
READ MORE: Hire the right people.
Set a vision 

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Exporting from Ireland? Help is at hand

Does your business have ambitions to export? If so, this programme could be just the ticket.
The Irish Exporters Association’s, in collaboration with InterTradeIreland, is seeking to recruit 20 new SMEs for its Export Knowledge Programme.
The Export Knowledge Programme’s primary aim is to improve an SME’s ability to export.
The programme takes selected participants through a “journey to improve their capability to export into existing and new markets”.

20 companies from varying sectors take part each year.
The main partners are ABP Food Group, DHL, Euler Hermes, and PwC along with Bord Bia and the Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs.
For more information contact
READ: Simon McKeever, CEO of the Irish Exporters’ Association on planning post-Brexit.
YOU MAY FIND USEFUL: Intertrade Ireland’s Brexit Factsheet for Business.

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