Which entrepreneurs will fit the Bill in EY initiative?

Pictured at the launch of the 2019 EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme in Belfast are representatives from the organisers, some of last year's finalists, and sponsors Julius Baer International, Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI 
Gary McDonald Business Editor

NOMINATIONS have opened for the 22nd running of the Ireland-wide EY Entrepreneur of the Year initiative, which seeks to unearth the brightest and best in business - as well as the bravest and boldest.

And entrants from the north will be vying to emulate entrepreneurs like hotels baron and Beannchor boss Bill Wolsey, who in October scooped the Industry category at the most recent EY awards in Dublin.

The theme of this year’s programme is 'Be Brave, Be Bold', and businesses of all sizes and sectors across Northern Ireland are invited to submit their nominations to by February 15 ahead of the announcement of the 24 finalists for 2019 in late April.

Kevin McLoughlin, partner lead for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Ireland, said: “This year we are committed to supporting and encouraging our island’s entrepreneurs to be brave and to be bold, whether that means taking a first step with a brilliant idea, or taking a calculated risk to drive growth in their business.

“They will be able to take inspiration from, and tap into the vast knowledge of Ireland’s most fearless entrepreneurs who have gone through this programme in the past. We now have an alumni network of 500 entrepreneurs who have benefited from the programme and remain connected to it.”

He added: “A highlight of the programme is when our finalists go on our renowned international CEO Retreat, taking place this year in Hong Kong, designed to help entrepreneurs transform their thinking and vision through executive education and inspiration from some of the world’s leading chief executives.”

Anne Heraty, chief executive of CPL Resources and chair of the judging panel, said: “I’m looking forward to hearing the stories of the entrepreneurs we will meet in 2019 and watching them develop over the course of the programme.

“The importance of entrepreneurship as a leading source of innovation, job creation and global economic growth is becoming increasingly clear. We see such a vast array of businesses come through the programme, all of which have the potential to disrupt industries overnight, which makes the job of the judging panel increasingly difficult year after year.”

Last year saw a strong mix of male and female finalists across nine different sectors who collectively employed more than 2,700 people and generated revenues in excess €150 million.

They included five representatives from Northern Ireland in Bill Wolsey (Beannchor Group) Dominic Fitzpatrick (Irish News), Gareth Chambers (Around Noon), David Maxwell (Boojum) and Darragh McCarthy (FinTrU).

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