Business

Kainos chief Mooney is Ireland's top entrepreneur - now it's Monte Carlo or bust

Kainos chief executive Brendan Mooney with his EY trophies
Gary McDonald Business Editor

BRENDAN Mooney, chief executive of Belfast-based software firm Kainos, is officially Ireland's top entrepreneur.

The 49-year-old software engineer was named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year for 2016 at a televised awards ceremony in Dublin attended by more than 1,500 business leaders and guests including An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Mooney is the third outright Northern Ireland winner in the history of the awards initiative, following in the footsteps of Dr Peter Fitzgerald, managing director of Randox Laboratories in Crumlin (2004) and Brian Conlon, founder of First Derivatives in Newry (2010).

Founded in Belfast in 1987 as a modest spin-out from Queen's University, Kainos is now the largest indigenous IT services company in the north, employing nearly 1,000 people in five countries.

With a market capitalisation of £235 million, it develops solutions for businesses and organisations in the public, healthcare and financial services sectors, and in the last four years alone has delivered 33 per cent compound growth.

Mooney - who was also named EY International Entrepreneur Of The Year in Dublin - has more than 25 years’ of technical, business development and management experience.

He joined Kainos in 1989 as a graduate software engineer before moving into a number of technical and commercial roles and then becoming its managing director in 2001.

In addition to his role at Kainos, Mooney has been a non-executive director at Meridio, Property News, the Probation Service for Northern Ireland and, until recently, was a serving Lay Magistrate.

Following his overall EY success, he will now go on to represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in Monte Carlo next June, competing against 60 other leading entrepreneurs from across the globe.

The 24 finalists in this year's EY initiative - seven of whom came from the north - represented companies which collectively employ more than 3,000 people and last year generated revenues in excess of half a billion euro.

Speaking at the awards gala in Dublin, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “We pride ourselves on being a small but open country for doing business. These 24 finalists exemplify the very best talent that Ireland has to offer, competing on a global stage with some of the world’s biggest and most innovative companies.

"Entrepreneurship is one of the driving forces behind Ireland’s continued economic prosperity, and makes a real difference in local communities across Ireland.

"It can provide people with options to stay and develop real careers in their localities and counties while at the same time winning business both at home in Ireland and abroad. I want to congratulate all the award winners.”

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