EY selects 24 finalists to battle for Entrepreneur of the Year award

Tech and life sciences businesses well represented in addition to traditional players

Leonora O’Brien, chief executive of PharmaPod, the first of this year’s 24 finalists to be notified by Roger Wallace, partner lead for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year awards. Photograph: Naoise Culhane

The shortlist for the 2020 EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards has been announced with 24 finalists selected across three categories.

They were chosen from more than 100 nominations by a judging panel chaired by 2006 winner Anne Heraty, chief executive of CPL Resources.

Now in its 23rd year, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards programme works to recognise, promote and build a supportive community around Ireland’s high-growth entrepreneurs.

"This year has been a challenging one so far for many businesses but we know that if there is one group that will rise to that challenge, it's our island's entrepreneurs," said Roger Wallace, EY partner lead for the awards. "This year we've seen lots of newer, cutting edge tech and life sciences businesses nominated, as well as more established and traditional players."


The finalists chosen in the emerging category are: Devan Hughes of Buymie; Ríona Ní Ghriallais and Conor Harkin of ProVerum; Brendan McDowell of BPerfect Cosmetics; Dr Sinéad B. Bleiel of AnaBio Technologies; Gary Wickham of MagGrow; John Goulding and Joe Lennon of Workvivo; Leonora O'Brien of Pharmapod; and Matt Cooper of Inflazome.

The nominees for the industry category are: Kevin O'Connor of General Paints Group; Cormac McCloskey of Errigal Contracts; Antonia Hendron of M50 Truck and Van Centre; Frank and Dolores Kiernan of Kiernan Structural Steel Ltd; Ed Donovan of Advanced Medical Services; John O'Connell of West Cork Distillers; Paul Fitzgibbon and Neil Fitzgibbon of Ard-Rí Marble; and Seamus O'Hara of Carlow Brewing Company.

The finalists in the international category are: Pat Lucey of Aspira; Rodney Lowry of Lowe Rental Ltd; Tim Houstoun of Global Shares; Conor O'Loughlin of Glofox; Nicola Mitchel of Life Scientific; Andrew O'Shaughnessy of Poppulo; Andrew Mackin of Mackin; and Cathal Friel of Open Orphan.

The 24 will vie for the title of EY Entrepreneur of the Year with the winner to be announced in November. Last year's overall winner was Richard Kennedy of Devenish. 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