More than 100 Irish entrepreneurs in Germany for CEO retreat

Irish entrepreneurs will gain exposure to leading local business leaders and consultants

More than 100 Irish entrepreneurs are this week taking part in a CEO retreat to Germany focused on the future of industry.

Attendees include the 24 EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 finalists. Representing the full spectrum of industries, the 24 finalists employ more than 5,000 people between them and generate annual revenues of €1.5 billion.

The finalists were selected by a judging panel chaired by 2006 EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Cpl Resources chief executive Anne Heraty.

The first leg of the retreat was held in Dublin on Saturday, and included talks from Realex Payments founder Colm Lyon on his journey from start-up to exit. Smurfit Kappa chief executive Gary McGann discussed reinventing a traditional business through innovation, and Fergal Naughton led a fireside chat with his father, Martin Naughton, on the remarkable story behind the global success of Glen Dimplex.


The German-leg of the retreat takes place this week, and includes bespoke executive education at the European School of Management and Technology and site visits to companies including BMW.

The group will also gain exposure to leading local entrepreneurs, business leaders and consultants, taking lessons from the successful model behind Germany’s Mittelstand.

Speakers include Jan Beckers (Hitfox); Sinead Browne (Allianz); Caoimhe Keogan (Soundcloud); Honorary Irish Consul Dr Erich Lejeune; Michele Fuhs and Erich Ebner von Eschenbach (BMW).

Enterprise Ireland’s Germany manager Eddie Goodwin will also give a talk on the dos and don’ts of doing business in Germany.

Kevin McLoughlin, partner lead for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme, said technology was increasingly going to transform the way that all businesses operated and developed their strategies in the future.

“The speed of innovation is accelerating; and keeping apace with this rapid change is essential to survival in the fiercely competitive business landscape.”

He said Germany was one of Ireland’s most resilient export markets, making it a fitting choice for the CEO retreat.

“Total trade between Ireland and Germany amounts to over €20 billion per annum, and, as Europe’s largest economy and the world’s second largest exporting nation, gaining a foothold in Germany presents a number of opportunities for Irish entrepreneurs to further internationalise their businesses.”

The retreat will also include sectoral break-out groups and networking opportunities for the group of entrepreneurs to discuss the challenges they are facing in an effort to increase collaboration.

To date, more than half of the EY community of entrepreneurs have done business together.