Two Tipp businessmen vie for top Young Entrepreneur award

Dr. Paddy Finn, Electricity Exchange, regional winner in the Best Start Up Business category (with the Local Enterprise Office Limerick); Philip Martin, Blanco Nino, regional winner in the Best New Idea category (with the Local Enterprise Office Tipperary); Tom Ryan, Adsmart & Townsmart, regional winner in the Best Established Business category (with the Local Enterprise Office Tipperary);  pictured at the Mid-West Regional Finals of the inaugural 'Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur' competition.
Two Tipperary businessmen have 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.

Two Tipperary businessmen have 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.

Philip Martin of Clonmel-based Blanco Nino and Tom Ryan of Nenagh-based Adsmart & TownSmart will represent the region in the ‘Best New Idea’ and ‘Best Established Business With New Add On’ categories respectively at the national final in Dublin on December 6th.

The two young entrepreneurs have already won a combined investment of €30,000 from the Local Enterprise Office Tipperary having being named category winners in the Tipperary heat of the competition last month.

Launched by the Government earlier this year, Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) 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 a regional awards ceremony held in Limerick last evening, three local business owners and new start-ups from Tipperary, all under the age of 30, went head-to-head with other county winners from Clare, Kerry and Limerick. Tipperary was also represented by Chris Shanahan from Chris IT who was shortlisted in the ‘Best Start Up’ category, which was won by Paddy Finn of Limerick-based Electricity Exchange.

Philip Martin’s Blanco Nino concept is aimed at producing corn based tortillas for the food service market. The products, including soft corn tortillas, frying tortillas and uncooked chips, will be manufactured using a traditional Mexican process and then frozen for sale into the food service market via a range of distributors targeting restaurants/cafes/Mexican eateries.

Nenagh-based Tom Ryan’s Townsmart product is a new add-on to his Adsmart technology platform which is geared towards providing individual Micro & Small businesses with their own platform. Users can avail of professionally designed templates to create campaigns across print, digital, social and mobile media at a price they can afford.

Over 400 business owners and start-ups from around the country, including 13 from Tipperary, have benefitted from intensive business bootcamps and mentoring programmes at local level, as part of the competition.

Head of Enterprise with the Local Enterprise Office Tipperary, Rita Guinan said: “We are very proud and honoured to have two representatives at the national final as over 1,000 businesses entered from every county in Ireland and competition for every place was intense. Tom and Philip now have a chance of being crowned ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’.