Six of Ireland’s best young business leaders

Six young Irish people who are running and growing quite unique and amazing ventures.

The Irish business landscape has been transformed by young people with brilliant, inventive and original ideas. Stand back and admire. 

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Annie and Kate Madden (15 & 16, pictured above)

Unless you’re an avid camel racing fan (yes, camel), you may not have heard of Annie and Kate Madden. The schoolgirl sisters, who hail from Summerhill, Co. Meath, are the founders of the horse food supplement firm Fenuhealth. You may be wondering where the camels enter into the story? Having attended the horse trade fair Equitana in Germany in 2015, they met with distributors from all over the world, including those from countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia – prime camel racing regions. Fenuhealth soon began receiving large orders from camel owners involved in the racing industry, and their business has gone from strength to strength. It’s no wonder that, with nine different offerings in their product suite and investment from an anonymous, but leading figure in the Irish horse racing industry, the Irish Independent named the company as one of Ireland’s 30 hottest startups. Oh, and did we mention they’re still in secondary school?

sam blackensee

Sam Blanckensee (22) 

Activist and lobbyist, Sam Blanckensee, is the National Development Officer of TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland). He is also a 2017 entrant on the ‘Forbes Europe 30 under 30’, recognised not only in the ‘Law & Policy’ category but also the “youngest” category as one of the youngest achievers on the prestigious list. At only 22, he has become recognised as the voice for the trans community across Ireland. He played a large part in the lobbying effort that helped pass legislation to allow people to self-declare their gender and receive new birth certificates. And there’s no slowing him down. An active member in student politics at UCD and member of the Labour party, Blanckensee has said that running in the next local election in 2019 is not something he would rule out. Definitely, one to watch.

Iseult Ward, FoodCloud

Iseult Ward (26) 

A list mate of Blanckensee’s on the ‘Forbes Europe 30 Under 30’ this year, Iseult Ward was also honoured in two categories; the ‘Social Entrepreneurs’ category and the ‘Dorm Room Founders’ category. The ‘Dorm Room Founders’ section celebrates founders building businesses in cramped quarters. Ward created the mobile and web platform, FoodCloud, which connects businesses with surplus foods to local charities. Already quite accomplished before hitting the Forbes list, she has previously won the Marie Claire ‘UK Future Shapers Award’ as well as funding from the Virgin Media Business VOOM 2016 Competition. A panellist for the ‘Future Leaders’ event at Facebook in 2016, Ward is highly regarded amongst her industry peers, and even TIME magazine has recognised her talents, including her on their prestigious ‘Next Generation Leaders’ list. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

Niall Mimnagh

Niall Mimnagh (29) 

Niall Mimnagh is the CEO of Mimergy, a manufacturing company that uses new technology to recycle waste tyres (and other rubber products) into clean fuel and chemicals. Known for having a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Mimnagh’s background lies in engineering with a clear passion for sustainability. He was also included on the Forbes list this year, getting the nod in the ‘Industry’ category. He was also a national finalist in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2016 and a regional winner in 2015. The Longford native is three years into his venture, but if his accomplishments thus far are anything to go by, he will be around for many years to come.

Colm Williamson

Colm Williamson

You may not instantly recognise the name, but chances are you’ve read and shared one of his stories. Colm Williamson is the man behind the hugely popular satirical publication Waterford Whispers. With over half a million Facebook fans, the outrageously ludicrous (and it must be noted, entirely fictitious) stories have the kind of viral momentum that big brands can only dream about. His big break came in January 2014, when Waterford Whispers landed a “scoop” with the now infamous ‘North Korea Lands First Ever Man On The Sun’ story. The story was a spoof, of course, but it generated around 1.5 million readers at the time of being published. Williamson published his first Waterford Whispers book in 2015, closely followed by another in 2016. We will wait with baited breath to see what the next big (fake) news story is from this ‘journalistic’ powerhouse.

Article by Niamh Linehan.

Main image from Business & Finance.