A 35-year-old former Connacht Rugby star from Athlone was named Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) for 2018 at today’s final in Dublin.
Conor O’Loughlin and his companyGlofox took home the top award at today’s event after also winning his national category, Best Established Business, and securing a total investment fund of €40,000.
Funding for the LEOs and the IBYE competition is provided by the Government of Ireland through the State Agency, Enterprise Ireland.
The programme, which is run by the network of local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) nationwide and supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland, attracted over 1,400 applicants in 2018 with an investment fund of €2million. Already through the programme this year, 185 entrants have secured investments of between €3,000 and €15,000.
Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen T.D., made the announcement in front of 360 guests at the IBYE National Final, held at Google’s European Headquarters in Dublin today.
O’Loughlin, representing Local Enterprise Office Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, played 97 times for Connacht, including a Challenge Cup Final against Harlequins and appearances for Ireland ‘A’ and U-21, before retiring at 28 due to a hip injury.
The former scrum half went on to set up Glofox, a gym management software system, in 2014. The business, which allows both gym members and gym owners to access usage, payment and service information, now has over 1,000 customers spread across 23 countries. O’Loughlin is in the process of setting up a base out of New York in 2018 with the United States the company’s main focus.
O’Loughlin said: “This is fantastic and such a huge shock considering the calibre of business and entrepreneurs here today. I can’t quite believe it looking around at the competition but I have to thank my Local Enterprise Office Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and Enterprise Ireland who have been a huge help to me right from the start and without whom I wouldn’t be standing here today.”