Prize for Middle East coupon firm

Fri, Oct 26, 2012, 01:00

EMERGING CATEGORY:PAUL KENNY (28) has been named as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the “Emerging” category for his online coupon company, Cobone.

Mr Kenny, who has more than 120 employees spanning six offices in three countries, was presented with the award at Citywest last night. Attendees heard it was Mr Kenny’s inability to see boundaries that persuaded the judging panel to choose him as the winner.

Thanking his parents and sister for encouraging him to leave Ireland at the tender age of 22, Mr Kenny stressed the importance of looking after the youth of today.

“Aged 22 I didn’t know what I was going to do, I never thought that aged 28 I’d be winning this award,” he said.

The other finalists in the emerging category for the Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year were Seán Ryan of Aspen Grove; Matthew Brown of Connect Telecom; Alan and Valerie Kingston of Glenilen; Peter Milner of Optivia Biotechnology; Niall Harbison of Simply Zesty; Mark and Kira Walton of Voya; and Ronan O’Brien of Zatori Results.

Mr Kenny got the idea for the Dubai-based business after taking a holiday in the Middle East. Having successfully secured seed funding from Jabbar Internet Group, the business began by offering online daily deal coupons to consumers within the United Arab Emirates for products and services offered by spas, restaurants and a range of other leisure activities. It has evolved into a full e-commerce website in both English and Arabic.

In the 19 months since its inception, the company has signed-up more than 1.5 million customers and achieved almost 600,000 followers on social media.