EY Entrepreneur of the Year: 24 firms shortlisted for award

Finalists employ nearly 13,000 people and generate annual revenues of almost €1.2bn

Pictured at the announcement of this year’s finalists are Kevin McLoughlin, EY partner lead for the awards programme, and Anne Heraty, chief executive of Cpl Resources and chair of the judging panel

The shortlist for the 2019 EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards has been announced with Supermac's founder Pat McDonagh and Matt Ryan of hospitality group Press Up Entertainment among the 24 finalists selected to compete across three categories.

This year's finalists have been selected from more than 120 nominations by a judging panel chaired by 2006 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Anne Heraty, who is chief executive of Cpl Resources.

Now in its 22nd year, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards programme works to recognise, promote and build a supportive community around Ireland’s high-growth entrepreneurs.

Representing the full spectrum of industries, the 2019 finalists employ almost 13,000 people and generate annual revenues of almost €1.2 billion.


“This year our shortlist has everything from fast food to energy, with many of the entrepreneurs representing businesses that are household names. Cutting-edge technology businesses are prominent again this year, alongside a strong mix of more traditional businesses,” said Kevin McLoughlin, EY partner lead for the awards.

Entrepreneurial community

“The standard of the finalists this year is reflective of a very healthy entrepreneurial community, he added.

The finalists in the emerging category are: Mark Dowds of Trov; John Mullins of Amarenco Solar; Tom Cronin of Rye River Brewery; Mervyn O'Callaghan and Simon Murray of Provision Vehicle Cameras; Sonia Deasy of Pestle & Mortar; Ian Nolan and Alex Kelly of Brightflag; Triona Mullane of Madme Technologies; and James and Timothy McElroy of HouseMyDog.

The finalists in the industry category are: Matt Ryan of Press Up Entertainment Group; Pat McDonagh of Supermac's Holdings; Mark Whitaker of Johnson & Perrot Motor Group; Patrick Derry of DRT (NI) Limited; Peter and Una Kearns of The Institute of Education; Ashley McCulla of McCulla (Ireland) Limited; Laurence O'Kane of IMED Healthcare; and Donnacha Hurley of Motor Mania.

The finalists in the international category are: Richard Kennedy of Devenish; Andrew Day of Keywords Studios; Lily Holmes of PB Machine Tech; Paul McKenna of Mac-Group; Philip Noone of Aalto Bio; Shane Evans of Scapinghub; Brian Leslie of Seaquest Systems; and Lulu O'Sullivan of GiftsDirect.com/TheIrishStore.com.

As part of the programme, the 24 finalists will join more than 60 other entrepreneurs for a week-long “CEO Retreat” to Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau next month.

The shortlisted entrepreneurs will vie for the title of EY Entrepreneur of the Year at an awards ceremony in Dublin in November. The winner will go on to represent Ireland at World Entrepreneur of the Year in Monaco in June 2020.

Last year's overall winners were Daniel Mackey and Peter Coppinger of Cork software company Teamwork. Other previous winners include Denis O'Brien, Aidan Heavey, Padraig O'Ceidigh, Liam Casey, John and Patrick Collison, and Harry Hughes.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist