Seven from Northern Ireland short-listed for EY Entrepreneur of the Year crown

Pictured in Belfast at the announcement of 2022 EY Entrepreneur of the Year short list are Rob Heron, partner lead for the EOY programme, with Northern Ireland finalists Jacqueline O’Reilly (owner and director of KonFloor) and Andrew Lynas (group managing director at Lynas Foodservice)
Gary McDonald Business Editor

SEVEN leading business figures from the north are included on the short list of 24 for this year's EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme.

It's the highest representation from Northern Ireland since 2017, with each hoping to follow in the illustrious footsteps of four past overall winners from the region in Dr Peter FitzGerald (Randox), Brendan Mooney (Kainos), the late Brian Conlon (First Derivative) and Richard Kennedy (Devenish Nutrition) when the final is held in Dublin in November.

The Northern Ireland-based finalists are John Harkin (Alchemy Technology Services) and Alan Carson (Cloudsmith) in the Emerging category; Andrew Lynas (Lynas Foodservice) and Paul Stewart (MyBaggage) in the Established category; and Gregory Bradley (BLK BOX), Jacqueline O'Reilly (KonFloor) and Martin McKay (TextHelp) in the International category.

Overall, the 24 short-listed entrepreneurs span a diverse range of sectors including technology, consumer, manufacturing, energy, health and finance, whose businesses collectively generate annual revenues of more than €800 million.

Rob Heron, partner lead for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme in the north, said: “Our entrepreneurs this year represent an impressive variety of industries, and it's fantastic to see seven businesses from Northern Ireland featuring across all three finalist categories.

“From cutting edge software firms to innovative foodservice the scope of the impact that these entrepreneurs have across Northern Ireland and globally is vast.

“Harnessing the power of technology to empower businesses, customers and communities, to positively impact entire industries and to help change our future for the better is a key motivator for this year's cohort of finalists.

“Whether they are at the helm of ambitious start-ups, established market leaders or leading businesses that are recognised as global players, our entrepreneurs are all striving to create solutions that drive positive change across the island of Ireland, be it through forward-thinking solutions in the agricultural sector, or data-driven fintech for example.”

This is the 25th year of the EoY, and the theme for 2022 is The Changemakers, acknowledging that each of the finalists is revolutionising their own industries and creating opportunities for Ireland and beyond.

This year for the first time, a new Sustainability Award will be presented to the finalist who is making the biggest contribution towards environmental sustainability through their business.

Anne Heraty, founder of CPL Resources and overall EY Entrepreneur of the Year winner in 2006, is again chairing the judging panel.

She said: “Such was the incredibly high calibre of applicants to this year's programme it was a real challenge for our experienced judges to select the finalists from more than 100 nominations.

“Despite the ongoing difficulties of Covid, the energy and inflation crisis and challenging geopolitical issues, it's inspiring to see our entrepreneurs as tenacious and relentless as ever in their pursuit to create innovative businesses that benefit Ireland and the wider world.”

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