Entrepreneur of the Year contest begins


ERNST & YOUNG has launched its 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year programme. The competition, which is in its 15th year, will see the announcement of 24 finalists in May followed by a ceremony to crown the winner in October.

“Despite the numerous difficulties faced by our island’s economies and businesses in recent years, Ireland is trying hard to show the first real shoots of recovery,” said Frank O’Keeffe, partner-in-charge of the programme.

“Fuelled by an unparalleled level of dedication and commitment, it is our entrepreneurs who are the true trailblazers and champions who will reignite our economy.”

The short-listed candidates will travel to Silicon Valley, “where they will avail of the chance to further enhance and develop their entrepreneurial skills,” he said.

The final will be broadcast on RTÉ, with the winner representing Ireland at the World Entrepreneur of the Year finals in 2013.

There are three categories, open to owner-managers of companies at least two years old: emerging entrepreneur, industry entrepreneur and international entrepreneur. The closing date for nominations is March 30th.

The panel of judges is chaired by Pádraig Ó Céidigh, chairman of Aer Arann and recipient of the award in 2002, and the programme is supported by The Irish Times, RTÉ, Enterprise Ireland, Invest NI, Intertrade Ireland and Newstalk.

The most recent winners of the award are Joe Hogan, chief technology officer, and Niall Norton, chief executive of Openet. Mr Hogan and Mr Norton will represent Ireland at the 2012 World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.