Irish News MD among five from north short-listed for EY Entrepreneur of the Year crown

Announcing the 2018 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ireland finalists are (from left) Anne Heraty of CPL Resources, who will chair the judging panel, fellow judge Michael Carey (East Coast Bakehouse) and Kevin McLoughlin, partner lead for the EY Entrepreneur of The Year programme. 
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE managing director of the Irish News is among five prominent business figures from the north who've been included on a 24-strong short list for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme, now in its 21st year.

Dominic Fitzpatrick (52), who has headed up the management team at the paper for two decades and also oversees the running of Irish News sister companies such as Interpress, FarmWeek and Q Radio, is a finalist in the industry category of the initiative.

He will be joined by hospitality and hotels veteran Bill Wolsey (64) of the Beannchor Group, the Boojum burrito brand boss David Maxwell (34) and Newry-based sandwich giant Around Noon's Gareth Chambers (33).

Bill Wolsey from the Beanchor Group

The other finalist from the north, competing in the emerging category, is Darragh McCarthy (44), chief executive and founder of FinTrU, which he created in 2013 after spending 18 years at Morgan Stanley and which now employs more than 250 staff in Belfast.

Collectively, the 24 finalists employ 2,700 people and generate annual revenues of €150 million (£131 million). They've been short-listed from 110 nominations received from across the island of Ireland by an independent judging panel of previous winners chaired by Anne Heraty of CPL Resources.

The overall winner, who will be announced in October at a televised ceremony in Dublin, will go on to represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur of the Year in Monaco in June 2019.

Anne, who was winner in 2006, said: “Every year the calibre of nominees intensifies, and this year has been no exception, and while it is never an easy task narrowing the selection down to 24, we are delighted to see the diverse range of industries year on year.’’

The programme supports, promotes and connects a prodigious community of entrepreneurs, championing entrepreneurship throughout the island of Ireland and around the world.

Since its inception, the EOY community has grown to almost 500 alumni who harness each other’s wealth of experience, with 67 per cent now doing business with one another.

This year’s finalists will join 70 EOY alumni for a week of executive education and exclusive corporate insights in Oxford and London in May. The CEO Retreat is the island’s largest unofficial trade mission, specifically focused on fostering entrepreneurship.

Rob Heron, partner lead for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme in the north, said: “This year has been one of the most competitive years to date for nominees, and we have five exceptional finalists from Northern Ireland.

"We look forward not only to getting to know each of the finalists, but also to seeing the impact they make in the EOY community and their continued impact on the all-island economy.”

The 2018 EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalists are:

Emerging Category:

• Darragh McCarthy, FinTrU

• Paddy Finn, Electricity Exchange, Limerick

• Joe Wiley, Amryt Pharma plc, Dublin

• Patrick J. Rigney, The Shed Distillery of P.J. Rigney, Leitrim

• Elaine Sullivan, Carrick Therapeutics, Dublin

• David and Sandra Whelan, VR Education Holdings plc, Waterford

• Eoin Leonard, i3PT Certification, Dublin

• Noel O'Hanlon, Genesis Automation, Cork

Industry Category:

• David Maxwell, Boojum

• P.J. Flanagan, H&MV Engineering Ltd, Limerick

• Dominic Fitzpatrick, The Irish News

• Bill Wolsey, Beannchor Group, Antrim

• Vicki O'Toole, JJ O’Toole Ltd, Limerick

• Louise Kennedy, Louise Kennedy, Dublin

• Gareth Chambers, Around Noon

• Rachel Doyle, Arboretum, Carlow

International Category:

• Peter Keeling, Diaceutics, Louth

• Tony Richardson, Venn Life Sciences, Dublin

• Peter Coppinger & Daniel Mackey,, Cork

• Ray Cole, Virginia International Logistics, Cavan

• Barry Napier, Cubic Telecom Limited, Dublin

• Mary McKenna, Tour America/Cruise Holidays, Dublin

• Damien McGovern & Pat Lynch, Compliance & Risks Ltd, Cork

• Aine Lecky & Eibhlin Murphy, Major Equipment (Intl) Ltd, Mayo

Gareth Chambers, managing director of Around Noon

Darragh McCarthy, founder of FinTrU

David Maxwell of Boojum

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