Cavan Entrepreneur reaches National IBYE Final

Cavan Entrepreneur reaches National IBYE Final

Entrepreneur Jessica Kavanagh from Drung, County Cavan has clinched a place in the national final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition in Dublin this March, following the Regional Finals on Tuesday evening

Published on: 22 Jan 2018

Jessica was competing in the Best Start Up Business Category with her business Olann. Olann is a business that was born out of a desire to create a range of sophisticated coloured yarn from ethically sourced materials.

Jessica established the business in April 2017 and currently employs two part time people. It is her desire to grow the production capacity quickly to meet significant market demand. In her workshop in County Cavan she dyes yarn in small batches, and her business has a strong growth and export potential.

She is now one of three young entrepreneurs who will represent the North-East region on March 4th 2018 in Google HQ in Dublin. Jessica now has the opportunity, along with 23 other national finalists, to become Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur and share in a further investment fund.

Also representing Cavan on the night were County Final Winners Ronan Kelly of Bespoke Choice in the Best Business Idea Category and Peter Scanlan of Elegant Gems in the Best Established Category.  All three county winners went head-to-head with other county winners from Monaghan, Meath and Louth.

The three category winners who will go forward to the National Final were announced at the IBYE Regional Final in Ballymascanlon House Hotel in Dundalk  on Tuesday, 23 January.

Marcella Rudden, the Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office Cavan, congratulated the local entrepreneur, saying: “Our search to find and support Ireland’s best young entrepreneurs, which started last September, has turned up some incredible business talent".  

"Our local entrepreneurs are the business leaders of the future and the entrants in the competition have all shown innovation and drive. After a very successful bootcamp, County Final and now Regional Final, the county will be proudly represented in the ultimate stage of the competition – the IBYE National Final on March 4th 2018.”

The Chief Executive of Cavan County Council, Mr Tommy Ryan said: “We are proud and honoured to have a representative at the national final in March, as there was tough competition across each category. Our finalist, Jessica, now has a chance of being crowned ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ and to win additional investment for her business. We’d also like to congratulate all our other nominees and entrants, who ‘flew the flag’ for us at the county and regional finals. Cavan County Council, through the Local Enterprise Office, looks forward to supporting their businesses into the future.”

Judging for the National Finals takes place in early March and each finalist will have the opportunity to pitch their business plan to the judging panel. They will be assessed on criteria such as the level of innovation in their business, the potential for future job creation and their leadership skills.

Aimed at 18 to 35-year-olds, the IBYE initiative is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) nationwide, and supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. The investment awards will be used by the young entrepreneurs to help fund business start-ups, create new jobs locally and help develop new products for international markets.

Competition details and results are available from and information around the supports available to young entrepreneurs through the Local Enterprise Offices is available from



Pictured left to right: Cllr. John Paul Feeley, Chair, Economic SPC, Cavan County Council; Gerry Collins, Business Consultant; Marcella Rudden, LEO Cavan; Tommy Ryan, Chief Executive, Cavan County Council; Jessica Kavanagh of Olann Winner of Best Start-Up Business; Cllr. Paddy McDonald, Cathaoirleach, Cavan County Council; Finalist Ronan Kelly of Bespoke Choice; Finalist Peter Scanlon of Elegant Gems, and Andrea Corrigan, LEO Cavan.