Brilliant Businesses in Donegal

Donegal delight as two progress to National Finals of IBYE
Donegal delight as two progress to National Finals of IBYE

Donegal will have two businesses in the National Finals of the competition for Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) in March after Thomas McLaughlin of Tadáias and Ciara McGlynn from Niche Specialist Staffing Partners scooped their respective regional titles.  County winners from Longford, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal competed in three sections – Best Business Idea, Best Start Up and Best Established – with the Donegal winners taking the honours in two of the three categories.

Thomas McLaughlin of Tadáias Premium Cycling Apparel was the Donegal winner of the Best Established Business in December and he said he was thrilled to take the regional Title in the face of some strong competition.  Tadáias Premium Cycling Apparel provides the finest cycling clothing and accessories, both on & off the bike. Each product is created & developed by cyclists for cyclists with their unique needs in mind.  The range combines the latest technology with a host of rider inspired features and detailing. Thomas McLaughlin has worked as a Fashion Designer for world famous designer John Rocha for 8 years, designing collections for London Fashion Week catwalk shows. In doing so has gained a wealth of knowledge in fabric, tailoring and design. Combining his passions for fashion and cycling Tadáias was born. Tadáias is to be synonymous with the highest levels of quality, style and performance. Developing new and exciting cycling products, which improve the riders experience on the bike.

Speaking at the event Thomas said “It is really great to win another award and to go on now to Google for the national final. It is more validation for the company and reward for all the hard work put in. It is great to have that from your peers.” Thomas said that winning the Donegal award had already been a huge benefit to his business. “Since the Donegal final there was a great boost to our web traffic, especially from the business community and there are a lot of cyclists in that community. A lot of people have come and found the company and we have got some big orders just based on IBYE success for sure.”

 Ciara McGlynn of Niche Specialist Staffing Partners, made it a night of double success for the county when she took the award for Best Start Up Business.  A former player with the Republic of Ireland Soccer team, Ciara is no stranger to the big stage.  Ciara said that her business had benefited immensely from winning the Donegal competition and she is hoping for more of the same now. “We had a phenomenal boost after winning the Donegal final. We used it as a platform for our American clients as part of our Irish story and we generated two new clients from that. Hopefully this will have a similar impact and I really am looking forward to going to the national competition.”

Ciara graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business & Marketing from the University of Ulster. A Promising Young Entrepreneur with 7 years of Staffing experience within Niche markets, in Australia & New York.  In 2012 Ciara was awarded ‘Top Rookie’ for the Asia Pacific Region for the Global Recruitment firm SThree for generating $130,000 in her 1st 6 months. In 2013 Ciara went on to Win ‘Top Biller’ for Australia generating $500,000 in her 2nd year.  In 2014 Ciara was then transferred to New York to recruit in a highly sophisticated Niche Market, for Wall Street Banks.  In 2016 Ciara and her husband Gareth decided to start their own recruitment firm and the only place to do this, was back home in Donegal.  In January 2017 Niche SSP was started based in the CoLab, Letterkenny and is going from strenght to strenght. 

Speaking at the event the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr. Gerry McMonagle reminded all twelve of the finalists that they had arrived at the Regional Awards as winners – and they should be extremely proud of that.

All of the businesses were also reminded by the Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, Seamus Neely, that engagement with their Local Enterprise Office gave them a platform to access the suite of supports and services on offer from their Local Authority. Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Michael Tunney, echoed the comments of the Cathaoirleach when he reminded the businesses that they had already made huge progress in their business.

While Donegal won two of the three categories on the night, the winner of the Best Idea category was won by Sligo’s Noel Dykes, who pipped Donegal’s Deirdre Ward of Unlock, Longford’s Warren Belton of Magma Clava and Leitrim’s Raymond McBdie of Nowee for the title.

All three Regional winners now progress to the National Finals to be held in the Google Headquarters in Dublin on Sunday March 4.