Agri’ Pioneer named as EY Entrepreneur Of The Year for 2012

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Dublin, 26 October 2012 - Dr. Edmond Harty, a world leader in the development and manufacture of dairy farm equipment, was presented with the title of Entrepreneur Of The Year by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in this, the 15th anniversary year of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Programme in Ireland.  

Harty had been named as winner of the International Category earlier in the evening. Fellow finalists, Paul Kenny, CEO of Dubai-based Cobone.com; and Colm Piercy, CEO of Irish telecoms’ business, Digiweb, were also acknowledged for their exceptional vision, innovation and exceptional commercial achievements and were announced as winners of the Emerging and Industry Categories respectively.

The awards ceremony, which took place in City West Hotel, was also attended by Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, T.D. and an assembled audience of 1,300 people that included many former winners, alumni and other luminaries from Ireland’s entrepreneurial and business community.

A Mechanical Engineer by profession, Harty joined the family business in 1998 whilst studying for a PhD in UCD where he focused on the area of milking performance. A focus on in-house R&D, manufacturing and the application of advancements in engineering technology has remained core to the business’ international success.  It has enabled the company to be at the cutting-edge of product innovation, exporting to over 40 countries, while retaining jobs locally - a factor that he believes to be vital to the company’s success.

Headquartered in Causeway, near Tralee in County Kerry, Dairymaster also has operations in the UK and the US, and employs 220 people, internationally.

Harty was amongst 24 finalists from across the island of Ireland that made it to the competitive final stages of the 2012 Programme and will now go forward to represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards which will be held in Monte Carlo next June. 

Frank O’Keeffe, EY Partner-in-Charge of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Programme, spoke of the immense value that is being created by Irish pioneers and innovators as they continue to push the boundaries of possibility in an effort to ignite the long-term economic recovery of this island:

“Edmond Harty is an outstanding example of the phenomenal levels of creativity, commitment, ambition and determination that are required to effectively lead one of the most successful mechanical engineering businesses currently operating within the international arena and we are delighted to bestow this prestigious honour upon him this evening.

“By maintaining his company’s position at the cutting edge of global innovation, Edmond has built and developed an indigenous Irish business that today exports over 70 percent of its production to customers in over 40 countries, worldwide.

The domestic and international success that Edmond - and indeed each of our finalists - has achieved, further demonstrates that an unwavering sense of self-belief, combined with an ability to seize opportunities, even in the midst of adversity, will ultimately reap rewards.”   

He continued: “In this, the 15th anniversary year of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in Ireland, it is a privilege for us to have publicly celebrated the incredible achievements of Edmond, Colm and Paul, together with our other 2012 finalists, previous winners and alumni.   These awe-inspiring entrepreneurs and innovators are proven winners and significant job creators in Ireland.”

The winners of the Emerging and Industry Categories were also presented with their Awards by President Higgins and Frank O’Keeffe spoke of the exceptional contributions and hope that Paul Kenny and Colm Piercy are making to business life in Ireland and internationally: 

“By developing Cobone.com and Digiweb from their earliest incarnations to the international businesses that they are today, Paul and Colm have created enterprises that have become major players within the global e-commerce and telecoms sectors.”

He continued: “Digital Marketing Entrepreneur, Paul Kenny, founded Cobone.com in 2010 at the age of just 25 and in the two years since, the business has achieved phenomenal growth - in excess of 30 percent, month-on-month - to become the leading daily deal website in the Emirates and break all e-commerce records in the Middle East and North Africa region.

“Colm Piercy’s story has been equally inspiring: Since its establishment in 1997, Digiweb has grown from its original incarnation as a web-hosting business, to an international enterprise that is today, a major provider of converged telecoms, managed networks, and web-hosting services to over 100,000 business, residential, wholesale and public sector customers, employing almost 150 people between its Dublin, Dundalk and London centres.”

Martin Naughton, Chairman of Glen Dimplex, the world’s leading manufacturer of electrical heating products, received this year’s Special Award for his outstanding contributions to the development and progression of Ireland’s commercial, educational and artistic life.  Each year, the Special Award is presented to an individual who has contributed in a profound and meaningful way to the benefit of the entire island, whilst operating outside the traditional business arena.

Congratulating Mr.Naughton on his award, Frank O’Keeffe said that “it was an honour to present this accolade to a person of such international standing: “Martin Naughton is an entrepreneur and philanthropist with an outstanding global reputation. From his early career as an Engineer who established a small manufacturing facility in Newry that employed just 10 people in 1973, through to his position today as Executive Chairman and owner of the world’s leading manufacturer of electrical heating products, Martin is a pioneer in the truest sense of the word.  He has helped foster positive and lasting partnership North and South”

“Following a career that has spanned five decades upon the international stage, Martin Naughton is the very embodiment of the energy, tenacity and ability to think and act with global ambition is that is so vital to the long-term, economic recovery of this island and it is his outstanding vision that stands, tonight, as a shining beacon of inspiration to us all”.

In congratulating the winners, Tom Hayes, Head of Entrepreneurship at Enterprise Ireland, spoke of the significance of Ireland’s position as an entrepreneurial economy and the importance of recognising those who are driving the culture and spirit of enterprise across the island of Ireland, saying:

“Ireland is now regarded as a highly entrepreneurial country. The EY Programme provides an ideal platform through which to acclaim the achievements of these exceptional entrepreneurs and it is vital that we acknowledge the commitment and vision of those working within our most innovative companies to generate significant sales, exports, and much needed employment for this island.”

Jeremy Fitch, Managing Director of Business International with Invest Northern Ireland said:  “The quality of this year’s shortlisted companies has been extremely high, with each of them showing a commitment to making their businesses succeed through innovation and growth. Tonight’s awards have acknowledged the dedication, creativity, focus and success of the winning entrepreneurs and I congratulate them all.”

Director of Programmes and Business Services at InterTrade Ireland, Margaret Hearty, also congratulated the night’s winners, saying: “These companies represent the future for the entire island of Ireland. This programme brings together entrepreneurs from North and South and gives them access to a unique group of like-minded individuals and mentors with global expertise and experience. Entrepreneurial spirit and innovation are at the heart of InterTrade Ireland’s vision and I would like to congratulate each of the winners here tonight for their contribution towards future economic recovery.”

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Programme is supported by The Irish Times, RTE, Newstalk, Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland and Intertrade Ireland.