Top Entrepreneurs Return From US Trade Mission

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110 Irish entrepreneurs return from Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ CEO Retreat

Over 110 of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs have just returned home from a successful CEO Retreat that took place across Chicago, University of Notre Dame and New York.  Comprised of executive education sessions, networking and high profile speaker events, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ CEO Retreat gave attendees the opportunity to engage with top US entrepreneurs, investment bankers, economists, political advisors and academics across the east coast of America.

“The CEO Retreat enabled Ireland’s best entrepreneurs to step out of their comfort zones and think about their businesses in an entirely new way” said Frank O’Keeffe, Partner-in-Charge of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ programme. “We centred the CEO Retreat on the theme of ‘thinking global, becoming global’ and guided our entrepreneurs through what it takes to unlock success on a global stage. It was hugely encouraging to see our entrepreneurs return home full of renewed inspiration, ideas and an enhanced vision of growth for their businesses.”

The much anticipated 2013 CEO Retreat involved an ambitious itinerary that exposed the group of entrepreneurs to the very latest trends and shifts in business globally.  The schedule included master classes with business professors from the University of Notre Dame; strategy workshops with top executives in Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and General Assembly, a visit to the New York Stock Exchange and interactive problem-solving sessions at the Ernst & Young US headquarters in Times Square, New York. The group of attendees was made up of the 24 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ (EOY) finalists and over 80 of the greater EOY alumni community.

The high-profile speaker line-up included Pat Ryan, founder of AON Corporation; Jim Rohr, former CEO of PNC Financial Services Group; Dennis Boyle, founder of IDEO Design Thinking; Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of Chobani Inc and winner of World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013; renowned American Football Coach Lou Holtz; James McCann of 1-800 FLOWERS; Declan Kelly of Teneo Holdings; Wilbur Ross of WL Ross & Co; Michael Brewster, MD of Private Banking at Credit Suisse and Adrian Jones, MD of the Principal Investment Area at Goldman Sachs.

“I know I can speak on behalf of the EOY community when I say that the speakers throughout the CEO Retreat were truly inspirational and global market change agents” continued O’Keeffe. “World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013, Hamdi Ulukaya, started his business in the US with nothing but a subway coupon and 25 cents in his pocket.  Within 5 years he grew his company, Chobani Inc, to a turnover of $1 billion, employing over 3000 staff.  It was motivational stories like his and words of wisdom from the likes of Coach Lou Holtz that had our entrepreneurs taking notes and immediately connecting with their teams on home soil to share learnings.”

A series of announcements were also made by the 2013 EOY finalists during the CEO Retreat, including WiseTek Solutions partnering with McAfee on a global deal and the launch of Voxpro’s new technical support service for US tech companies looking to enter the European market.

While the CEO Retreat marked a major milestone for the 24 EOY finalists, they will soon be making their EOY TV debut in the five-part RTE TV series “Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™” that will start filming in July.  The overall winner of the 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year™ title as well as the winners per each of the three individual categories, will be announced at the EOY Gala Night taking place in Dublin on October 24th. 

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

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 Finalists are:

Automated Intelligence – Mark Godfrey & Simon Cole
Barracuda FX – Kieran Fitzpatrick & Maurice Curran
Budget Energy – Eleanor McEvoy
Datahug – Connor Murphy & Ray Smith
Merit Software – Kerril Burke & Paul Burke
Sixteen South – Colin Williams
Sugru - Jane ní Dhulchaointigh
Wisetek Solutions – Sean Sheehan

AMCS Group - Jimmy Martin & Austin Ryan
Creagh Concrete Products – Seamus McKeague
Freshgrass Group - Liam Woulfe
Jam Media - John Rice
Keelings - Caroline Keeling
Kylemore Services Group - Brian Hogan
Mash Direct - Martin Hamilton
Kellen Investments – Peter Dixon

ATA Group– Peter Cosgrove
Callan Bacon Company – John Walshe
Escher Group Holdings plc – Liam Church & Fionnuala Higgins
Lifes2Good – James Murphy
Samco Agricultural Manufacturing – Samuel Shine
Sofrimar – Lorcan Barden & Leslie Bates
Suretank Group – Patrick Joy
Voxpro – Dan Kiely & Linda Kiely