Two County Winners Reach ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ National Final


Rebecca Butler 3


Dean Gammell 2

Two young Westmeath entrepreneurs have won a place at the first-ever national final of ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition, for a chance to share a €100,000 investment fund.

Rebecca Butler from Streete is representing the region in the Best New Idea category at the national final in Dublin this December and has already won €10,000in investment from the Local Enterprise Office.

Dean Gammell from DG Ventures Ltd. based in Kinnegad is representing the region in the Best Established Business category at the national final in Dublin this December and has already won €20,000in investment from the Local Enterprise Office.

Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition is an integral part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2014 and is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through the 31 Local Enterprise Offices around the country.

On November 7th, two local business owners and new start-ups from Westmeath, all under the age of 30, went head-to-head with other county winners from Offaly, Laois and Kildare.

The nominees were all interviewed by a three member judging panel and had to deliver a business pitch, live. Assessed on criteria such as business innovation, job creation potential and financial planning, the announcement of the national finalists was made at a reception in Aras an Chontae, Westmeath County Council, Mullingar.

Congratulating the finalists, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. said: “Central to our plans for jobs and growth is supporting more businesses to start-up. Part of this plan is also fostering a stronger culture of entrepreneurship and promoting start-up business as a career option for young people. That is what is behind this new competition to find the best young entrepreneur in the region also ultimately Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.”

The local winners now faces tough competition from 23 other finalists, emerging from eight regional finals. The €100,000 investment fund in December is divided up across four prizes:

-          Best New Idea (€20,000 investment)

-          Best Start Up (€30,000 investment)

-          Best Established Business, with New Add On (€30,000 investment)

-          Overall Winner of ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ (an additional €20,000 investment)

Importantly, over 400 business owners and start-ups from around the country have benefitted from intensive business bootcamps and mentoring programmes at local level, as part of the competition.

The Head of Enterprise with the Local Enterprise Office Westmeath, Christine Charlton, said: “We are very proud and honoured to have two representatives at the national final inDecember, as over 1,000 businesses entered from every county in Ireland and competition for every place was intense. Our finalists now have a chance of being crowned ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ and to win additional investment of up to €50,000 in their business. We’d also like to congratulate our other nominee, Brian Kelly, T/a BK Leisure, Athlone, who ‘flew the flag’ for us at the county and regional finals and we look forward to supporting their business in the future.”

All the local representatives at yesterday’s regional finals were:

  • Dean Gammell, T/a DG Ventures Ltd, Kinnegad (Best Established Business)
  • Rebecca Butler, Street (Best New Idea) 

For all the latest news and updates about the ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ competition, visit, or search #ibye on social media.


For all local media queries, please contact your Local Enterprise Office Westmeath. (044-9338945).


Photography Note: Joe Keogh Photography was commissioned to attend this regional final and high res imagery will be available, reproduction-free, from your Local Enterprise Office.

Notes to Editor:

WHAT IS THE IBYE COMPETITION? Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is run by the new Local Enterprise Offices, and the winners at county level are eligible for an investment in their business of up to €20,000, while the winners at national level can receive an additional investment of up to €50,000. Investments in winning businesses will be determined according to business prospects and investment needs.

Mentoring, marketing and other supports will also be available to participating businesses at various stages of the competition. The competition is open to individuals aged 30 and under and will be judged under three distinct categories:

  • Best new idea (best idea for a new business)
  • Best start-up business (in business for 18 months or less)
  • Best established business with new add-on (in business for longer than 18 months and is adding a new dimension to their business).

The first stage was a county-based competition (run by the 31 LEOs) which led to the naming of the Best Young Entrepreneur in each county. This stage also included bootcamps and mentoring programmes. This is being followed by eight regional finals and one national final, with one business-person being crowned Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (in December 2014).

Westmeath Regional Entries

Best New Idea: Rebecca Butler, Streete for her winning entry on creating an alternative animal feed product using Hydroponics, a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water without soil.

Best Start up Business less than 18 months in operation: Brian Kelly, T/A BK Leisure, Unit 4 Garycastle, Dublin Rd, Athlone. BK Leisure offersRepair, certification, manufacturing and sales of inflatable and indoor play equipment

Best Established Business: DG Ventures, Kinnegad, C/o Dean Gammel. The business develops software to facilitate group bookings in the hotel and leisure industries. The software system automates all the manually work normally associated with a group booking and also acts as a marketing platform to increase their business.