Announcing the shortlist of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Programme for 2012

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Twenty-Four of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs have been shortlisted for the prestigious EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Programme for 2012. 

Emanating from a diverse array of industry sectors that range from Agriculture and Pharmaceutical to Mining and Online Retail, these outstanding individuals were selected from a record total of 150 nominations received for this year’s awards, having demonstrated what it really takes to succeed as an entrepreneur in today’s challenging business environment.

Speaking at the announcement of the 2012 shortlist, EY Partner-in-Charge of the Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Programme, Frank O’Keeffe, highlighted the vital role these entrepreneurs play in leading our return to economic growth and job creation. 

“Over the past 15 years, we have had the great privilege of acclaiming an array of awe-inspiring entrepreneurs as they have grown, evolved, and succeeded within the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Programme here in Ireland and abroad”, he said. 

“Witnessing their steadfast determination and watching their remarkable self-belief, we have been inspired by their ability to spot opportunity where others see only adversity and motivated by the immense contribution that these trailblazers continue to make, both locally and on the global stage”

He continued: “The 24 exceptional finalists who have been shortlisted for this year’s awards have already proven themselves to be on a par with their pioneering predecessors.  The scale of their incredible achievements, within what continues to be an extremely challenging economic environment, both domestically and internationally, has clearly made a deep impression at a commercial level”.

The worldwide presence of the entrepreneurs who have made it to this year’s tightly-contested final stages is further evidence of the global impact that continues to be made by Ireland’s leading lights.

The Judging panel, chaired by Padraig O’Ceidigh, winner of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ award in 2002, comprises some of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs. The 12-strong panel selected eight of Ireland’s outstanding entrepreneurs in each of three categories – Emerging; Industry; and International – as follows: 


Emerging  Industry   International   
Aspen Grove – Sean Ryan Barry & Fitzwilliam – Michael Barry Apex Fund Services – John Bohan – Paul Kenny Decora Blind Systems – Stuart Dickson & Russell Dickson Cove Energy Plc – John Craven
Connect Telecom – Matthew Brown

Digiweb Group – Colm Piercy

Dairymaster – Edmond Harty
Glenilen – Alan & Valerie Kingston Finnebrogue – Denis Lynn
Excelsys Technologies – Gary Duffy
Optivia Biotechnology – Peter Milner Genesis Crafty – Brian McErlain Kenmare Resources Plc – Michael Carvill
Simply Zesty – Niall Harbison Keltech – Ray Breen OSG Group – Malcolm Hughes
Voya – Mark & Kira Walton Nightline Logistics Group – John Tuohy & David Field Oxygen8 Communications Ltd – Shane Leahy

Zatori Results – Ronan O’Brien

Willowbrook Foods – John McCann Rigney Dolphin – Frank & Adrienne Dolphin

This year’s chosen finalists will join the Irish Programme’s extended entrepreneurial community at the annual Entrepreneur Of The Year™ CEO Retreat in June. This unique, week-long retreat takes place within the dynamic surroundings of Silicon Valley, California. 
Here, the 110 participants will be given the chance to further enhance and develop their entrepreneurial skills, increase their business network, share commercial experiences with local entrepreneurs, take master classes given by world renowned professors from Stanford and Berkeley Universities and develop lifelong peer relationships with others in the Entrepreneur Of The Year™ community. 

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