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Entrepreneur competition down to final 24

Pictured here are Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, Sheelagh Daly from the Local Enterprise Offices and Tom Hayes from Enterprise Ireland, with the finalists in the first-ever 'Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur' competition.

The competition was set up as part of the government's Action Plan for Jobs and attracted some 1,000 applicants, aged between 18 and 30.

The first stage was a county-based competition run by the local enterprise offices (LEOs), and 24 finalists have now been selected across three categories. One of the category winners will be named Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur in December.

Among the finalists that went through Dublin local enterprise offices is Xpreso, a product that enables parcel delivery companies to send real-time delivery information to customers.

The app allows customers to know exactly when a parcel will arrive and enables them to message the driver, or reroute the parcel to a neighbour.

The firm's chief operating officer and co-founder Eamon Keane dropped out of a PhD to set the company up.

Minister Bruton told attendees at the event that two thirds of all new jobs come from start-ups in their first five years of existence.