Westmeath Entrepreneur reaches Irelands Best Young Entrepreneur National Final

Bevcraft win place at IBYE National Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Competition


IBYE County Winners Ptools

Three young entrepreneurs from Westmeath went head-to-head with entrepreneurs from Laois, Kildare & Offaly at the Regional Final of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition.

Local Enterprise Office Westmeath was represented at the Regional Final by:

  • Liam Tutty of Dead Centre Brewing in Moate (Best Business Idea Category).
  • Ciaran Gorman, of Bevcraft Limited in Mullingar (Best Start-Up Business Category).
  • Lisa Byrne, of Beautique Beauty, Mullingar (Best Established Business Category).

Each young entrepreneur who had made it to the Regional Finals has been supported by their local enterprise office in Kildare, Laois, Offaly and Westmeath. The Regional Finalists have diverse businesses ranging from a brewery; a distillery; a multi-award winning beauty salon; a plastic recycling plant and more. 

The three regional winners, announced by Head of Enterprise Kildare, Jacqui McNabb and Mayor Martin Miley on Friday 26th January at a gala event in the Osprey Hotel were:

  • Best New Idea                        Matthew McCann, Access Earth, LEO Kildare
  • Best Start-Up Business          Ciaran Gorman, Bevcraft, LEO Westmeath
  • Best Established Business     Eoin Bara,Arderin Distillery, LEO Offaly

Westmeath LEO is delighted to be represented by Ciaran Gorman of Bevcraft, who will now go forward to compete at the IBYE National Final in March 2018 against the winners from the other Regions.

Bevcraft ciaran _ Darren

Bevcraft Limited (“Bevcraft”) is a specialised process and packaging business established by Ciarán Gorman and Darren Fenton to serve the rapidly growing craft beverage sector, including producers of; beer, cider, teas, coffees, health drinks and juices. Their mobile beverage canning service is the only Irish company offering this service and is one of only six in the EU.

Joanne Sweeney-Burke, former broadcast journalist, PR lecturer and CEO in various roles addressed the room of entrepreneurs as key note speaker. Embracing the digital age is something that Joanne has done with vigour and passion.  In discussing the opportunity that has been the digital transformation curve, Joanne insists that “Digital and social gives you and your business a global marketplace into which any business can scale.”

In building a business each entrepreneur has worked diligently to identify and capitalise on what sets them apart from others - their competitive advantage. Specifically, competitive advantage is a set of attributes that add value and allow you to outperform your competition. It’s no wonder why competition and entrepreneurship go hand-and-hand. Competition and Entrepreneurship were the order of the day.

So far, 180 talented entrepreneurs across every county in Ireland, aged between 18 and 35, have been awarded a total of €1.5 million in investment funding through the Local Enterprise Offices, after winning or becoming runners-up in IBYE County Finals.

This initiative for young entrepreneurs is run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) nationwide, and supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. The investment awards will be used by the young entrepreneurs to help fund business start-ups, create new jobs locally or to help develop new products for international markets.

Catherine Darby, Co-ordinator of IBYE Competition in Westmeath stated “Our search to find and support Ireland’s best young entrepreneurs, which started last September, has turned up some incredible business talent. Our local entrepreneurs are the business leaders of the future and the entrants in the competition have all shown innovation and drive. After a very successful bootcamp, County Final and now Regional Final, Westmeath will be proudly represented by Ciaran Gorman in the ultimate stage of the competition – the IBYE National Final in Google Headquarters in March 2018.”

It is at the National Finals that, one businessperson will be crowned Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.


Background:     About www.IBYE.ie Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur:

  • Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur is an enterprise initiative run by the 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) around the country and funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and Enterprise Ireland. A €2 million investment fund is available through IBYE which supports young entrepreneurs through training, mentoring and direct financial investments.
  • IBYE was open to people between the ages of 18 (at date of application) and 35 (at 31st December 2017) with an innovative business idea, new start-up or established business, including: individuals, venture teams, partnerships, existing businesses with a new idea, or people overseas (including Irish emigrants) who will headquarter in Ireland.
  • Each LEO will have a total fund of up to €50,000 to invest in six businesses (three category winners and three runners-up) according to criteria including businesses’ investment needs. The three categories are as follows:
  • Best Business Idea (pre-trading) – up to €10,000 investment fund through every LEO (€7,000 for category winner and €3,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)
  • Best Start-Up Business (up to 18 months), with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)
  • Best Established Business (over 18 months) with up to €20,000 investment fund through every LEO (€15,000 for category winner and €5,000 for runner-up, through every LEO)
  • The county winners will proceed to eight regional finals in January and February 2018 from which 24 contenders (three from each region – one in each category) will be selected to compete for the national title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. A further €100,000 investment fund will be available to invest in the winners of the three categories at the national final, one of which will also be named with the prestigious title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur.


Local Enterprise Offices

  • The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are the ‘first-stop-shop’ for providing advice and guidance, financial assistance and ‘soft’ supports in the form of training and mentoring to anyone wishing to start or grow a business.
  • The LEOs provide a ‘signposting’ service in relation to all relevant state supports available through agencies such as Revenue, the Department of Social Protection, Education and Training Boards, the Credit Review Office and Microfinance Ireland.
  • The LEOs can offer direct grant aid to microenterprises (10 employees or fewer) in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector which, over time, have the potential to develop into strong export entities. Subject to certain eligibility criteria, the LEOs can provide financial assistance within three main categories, i.e., Feasibility Grants (investigating the potential of a business idea) Priming Grants (to part-fund a start-up) and Business Development Grants for existing businesses that want to expand.
  • The LEOs also offer advice and guidance in areas such as Local Authority rates, Public Procurement and other regulations affecting business.