Leslie Bates and Lorcan Barden acquired seafood company Sofrimar in 2000 through a management buyout. The company was originally set up in 1979 by thr(...)

From left: Jeremy Fitch of Invest Northern Ireland; Margaret Hearty of Intertrade Ireland; partner in charge of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year programme Frank O’Keeffe; and Pádraig Ó Céidigh, founder of Aer Arann and chairman of the judging panel. Photograph: Maxwells

Twenty-four businesses ranging from financial services and technology to agriculture and manufacturing are the finalists in this years Ernst &a(...)