20 Years On: EY Entrepreneur Of The Year reveals the programme’s 24 finalists for 2017

The shortlist of 24 finalists in the 2017 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ (EOY) programme was revealed today, representing entrepreneurial businesses right across the island of Ireland and a range of sectors including technology, healthcare, FMCG and retail. The nominated finalists, who have been selected in the three categories of Emerging, Industry and International following a rigorous and independent judging process, have a combined workforce of over 5,000 people and turnover of more than €475 million.

This year, the programme celebrates its 20th year in Ireland having established itself as best in class globally, and created a 470-strong network of entrepreneurs who remain connected to the programme and continue to do business together. The theme of this year’s programme is “Leading through Change” – in recognition of the significant change within the business community over the past two decades, and the pace at which it continues to evolve to this day.

Finalists in this year’s EOY 10 month development programme will benefit from mentoring initiatives, executive education, and an international CEO Retreat to San Francisco later this month, which will represent the largest unofficial trade mission specifically focused on fostering entrepreneurship.

Commenting on the announcement, Kevin McLoughlin, Partner Lead for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ programme said: “2017 is proving to be a year of disruptive change for companies, as we await the outcome of Brexit negotiations, and the potential impact of President Trump’s policies, coupled with ongoing innovation and technological disruption. This year’s finalists were chosen because they have demonstrated the ability to navigate change as business leaders, and as such, they represent the very best talent within Ireland’s entrepreneurial community today. We look forward to witnessing their journey on the programme and to supporting their growth and success now and into the future.”

“We are also pleased to see strong female representation within the finalists this year, however we look forward to seeing this diversity grow further year-on-year as an increasing number of female-led entrepreneurial businesses make waves across Ireland,” he added.

The finalists were chosen from nominations received from across the island of Ireland following a call for nominations at the beginning of this year, and were selected by an independent judging panel of previous winners, chaired by Anne Heraty, CEO of Cpl Resources plc and winner of the 2006 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ programme.

As finalists in the programme, the entrepreneurs will join over 70 members of the EOY community for a week long CEO retreat to San Francisco in May. The retreat will include masterclasses with decision makers at the helm of San Francisco’s most successful start-ups and globally renowned brands as well as leading academics from Stanford University.

As the finalists progress through the programme, the judging panel will determine the winners based on a number of criteria, including: innovation; value creation; strategic direction; financial performance; national and global impact; and the entrepreneur’s contribution to society and industry. The winners will be announced at the televised Awards Gala night in October 2017 and the overall winner will go on to represent Ireland at World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ in Monaco in June 2017.

Kevin said: “Through the EOY programme, we are proud to remain at the forefront of supporting and championing entrepreneurship across the island of Ireland, and as such, we’re looking forward to helping this year’s finalists put the necessary building blocks of funding, talent and innovation into place as they continue to lead through change. On behalf of EY, I would like to sincerely thank all of the businesses that entered this year’s programme. Through their success as entrepreneurs, they make an invaluable contribution to the economy, employment and Ireland’s reputation – and they should be applauded for these achievements.”

Anne Heraty, CEO of Cpl Resources plc and Chair of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ judging panel commented: “The judging process to determine this year’s finalists was no mean feat, due to the exceptional calibre of nominations we received – something that we were delighted to see in the 20th year of the programme. Through the EOY programme, we have the opportunity to shine a light on Ireland’s most innovative, agile and successful entrepreneurs and to learn from their experiences – something which is invaluable as an entrepreneur. I am delighted to welcome these 24 finalists into the EOY community and would like to wish them the very best in their journey through the programme over the coming months.”

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ programme is supported by Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, The Irish Times and Newstalk.

The 2017 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ finalists are:


Aoife Lawler & Niamh Sherwin-Barry, The Irish Fairy Door Company
Jack Teeling, Teeling Whiskey
Niall McGarry, Maximum Media/JOE Media
Ian McKenna, eLight
Jack & Declan O’Connor, BHSL
Daithi O’Connor, Revive Active
Ciara Donlon, THEYA Healthcare
Samuel Dennigan, Strong Roots


Patrick McAliskey, Novosco
Gary & Andrew Irwin, Bedeck
Evelyn O’Toole, CLS
Ramona Nicholas, Cara Pharmacy
Patrick McCann, Simplyfruit (Ire) Ltd.
Trevor Annon, The Mount Charles Group
Louis Keating, L&M Keating Ltd.
Jim Burke,


Harry Hughes, Portwest
Mark Barrett, APC
Darragh Cullen, Edge Innovate
Brendan Monaghan, Neueda
Fergus & Frances McArdle, Height for Hire
Jane Gallagher & Roisin Callaghan, Cogs & Marvel
Kevin O’Loughlin, Nostra
Alan Foy, Blueface


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