The future of Ireland's job creation lies in young start-ups, according to Enterprise Ireland.
The body is hosting the student entrepreneur awards in Cork today, where 450 students are presenting their business ideas.
Enterprise Ireland's Tom Hayes said there was a lack of skills in certain areas, and that start-ups gave young people control of their own lives.
"Start-ups by their nature are high-risk, but many have gone on to be very successful," he said.
"They've scaled and internationalised. Some have sold to multinationals and made a lot of money. These people are creating a very valuable ecosystem."