MORE than 100 of Ireland’s most dynamic entrepreneurs have travelled to England for the largest unofficial trade mission ever to leave Irish shores – the annual EY Entrepreneur Of The Year CEO Retreat.
Taking place from Monday to Friday, the retreat will focus on the theme of ‘Ambition,’ exploring how other leaders from the worlds of business, sport, academia and politics have navigated their respective journeys in line with their ambitions, and how this ambition can be harnessed to help the Irish entrepreneurs navigate the challenges and opportunities they face on their own entrepreneurial voyages.
The entrepreneurs - who include six from Northern Ireland - will spend the week between campuses in London and Oxford, where they will participate in an agenda of executive coaching and education, as well as sessions with the leaders of some of the UK’s most successful businesses and leading academics from Oxford University.
The UK’s strong Irish diaspora and long embedded trade relations with Ireland will provide the setting for lively debate and discussion around Brexit, among other topics.
The entrepreneurs will visit the House of Lords during the trip, where they will hear from former Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander about the importance of the economic relationship between Ireland and the UK.
Kevin McLoughlin, partner lead for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year, said: “For our 21st year of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme in Ireland, we have chosen the UK as our destination, given the quality and diversity of leading education and the entrepreneurial landscape, the significance of Brexit on the agendas of all businesses in Ireland, and the importance of economic relations between our neighbouring islands.
"The Retreat provides the entrepreneurs an opportunity to step away from their day jobs and learn from the very best in business, entrepreneurship and academia. It is the starting point for the new group of finalists, for whom this will be the first time they properly engage with each other and the rest of the EOY Alumni network.
"This network is valued massively by the entrepreneurs and provides a vital source of community, guidance and business for those involved. Some 67 per cent of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni network have done business with each other through the relationships they’ve formed through the programme.”
The agenda for Oxford and London comprises master classes, discussion fora, workshops and visits to a number of high-profile businesses.
These are unique opportunities which will challenge the entrepreneurs to see their businesses and their environment with a fresh perspective.
Notable speakers include Graham Wright, SAID Business School; Lord Evans of Watford, publisher, entrepreneur and philanthropist; Irish golfer Paul McGinley; Ben Hunt Davis, former British Olympic rower and author of Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?; Lord Karan Bilimoria, British Indian entrepreneur and founder of Cobra Beer; and Douglas Alexander, former Labour Shadow Foreign Minister.
Representing entrepreneurial businesses across the island of Ireland, and drawn from a wide range of sectors including technology, healthcare, manufacturing, FMCG and retail, this year’s 24 finalists collectively employee over 2,714 people and have revenues of over €150.3 million.
The 2018 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists are:
• Darragh McCarthy, FinTrU, Belfast
• 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
• David Maxwell, Boojum, Belfast
• P.J. Flanagan, H&MV Engineering Limited, Limerick
• Dominic Fitzpatrick, The Irish News, Belfast
• Bill Wolsey, Beannchor Group, Belfast
• Vicki O'Toole, JJ O’Toole Ltd, Limerick
• Louise Kennedy, Louise Kennedy, Dublin
• Gareth Chambers, Around Noon, Newry
• Rachel Doyle, Arboretum, Carlow
• Peter Keeling, Diaceutics, Louth
• Tony Richardson, Venn Life Sciences, Dublin
• Peter Coppinger & Daniel Mackey, Teamwork.com, 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 Limited, Cork
• Aine Lecky & Eibhlin Murphy, Major Equipment (Intl) Limited, Mayo