Go west: Irish entrepreneurs head stateside for CEO retreat

Master classes at Stanford and meetings with San Francisco’s biggest tech tycoons on the cards

More than 80 Irish entrepreneurs travelled to the US this weekend to take part in what is believed to be the largest unofficial trade mission to leave Ireland.

The week-long CEO retreat, which is organised by consultancy firm EY, is taking part in San Francisco from Monday onwards with the entrepreneurs expected to hear from decision makers at some of Silicon Valley’s most successful technology firms.

Attendees include the 24 EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 finalists. Representing the full spectrum of industries from across Ireland, this year’s finalists employ more than 5,000 people and generate annual revenues of more than €475 million. Other guests include a large number of former EY Entrepreneur of the Year winners and finalists.

In addition to meeting some of the biggest movers and shakers in San Francisco, the Irish entrepreneurs will also hear from leading academics at Stanford University and will visit Singularity University, a Silicon Valley think tank.


Classes and chats

The agenda includes master classes and fireside chats with speakers including the Irish Consul General Philip Grant, mayor of San Francisco Ed Lee, managing director of SOSV, Sean O'Sullivan and PCH founder and chief executive Liam Casey.

“This is our second time to travel to San Francisco for the CEO Retreat and is significant as we are now in our 20th year of the EOY programme in Ireland. The city was chosen because of its reputation as a hub for business and innovation and its links to Ireland, with many successful Irish businesses currently located there,” said Kevin McLoughlin, partner lead for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

“The retreat provides some of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs with the opportunity to step away from their day jobs and learn from the very best in business, entrepreneurship and academia. Being an entrepreneur can sometimes create a sense of isolation so this network of support in the shape of the other entrepreneurs on the trip is invaluable,” he added.

Now in its 20th year, the programme awards works to recognise, promote and build a supportive community around Ireland’s high-growth entrepreneur. This year’s winners will be announced at a ceremony in Dublin in October.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist