Pictured at the announcement of the finalists were: Eimear McCrann, EY Entrepreneur of The Year Lead; Tom Keogh Founder & Managing Director of Keogh’s Crisps; Aine Kilkenny, Co-founder at Riley and Roger Wallace, Partner Lead for EY EOTY.

Cork entrepreneurs revealed among EY 2023 finalists

It’s all about creativity and innovation this year and there are a number of Cork people short-listed as finalists of the 2023 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ireland programme.

Cork-based Dennis Collins of ActionZero and Deirdre O’Neill and Helen O’Neill of Hertility were named as finalists competing in the Emerging category while John Desmond and Sean O’Callaghan of Cygnum Timber Frame were named as finalists competing in the Established category.

There were a record number of nominations received nationally in 2023 and highest ever number of female finalists.

The entrepreneurs will compete with 21 other shortlisted entrepreneurs which span a range of sectors including technology, manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, retail, consumer products, and engineering. Collectively this group of business leaders are already generating annual revenues of more than €700m and employ over 5,000 people.

The finalists who hail from across the island of Ireland will compete across three categories - Emerging, Established and International - with a special Sustainability Award presented to the finalist who is making the biggest contribution towards environmental sustainability through their business. One overall winner will be selected as The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2023 at a gala awards ceremony which will take place in November.

Roger Wallace, Partner Lead for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme, said: “This year’s finalists represent a broad spectrum of industries, including technology, manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, retail, consumer products, and engineering to name but a few. Our finalists come from diverse backgrounds and communities across Ireland north and south, showcasing the depth of entrepreneurial spirit and talent running through the island.

“The theme for this year’s programme is ‘The Art of Entrepreneurship’. Both artists and entrepreneurs are creators, thinking differently and bringing new ideas and concepts which inspire and challenge. The EOY alumni group welcome and foster that spirit of innovation like no other, collectively impacting the ambition and culture of our Island.”

This year’s finalists have been shortlisted out of more than 150 nominations by an independent judging panel of previous winners, chaired by Anne Heraty, Founder of CPL Resources Plc, and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2006 who commented: “The calibre and number of nominations received for this year’s programme was incredibly high. The process of selecting 24 finalists posed a very real challenge to our judging panel.

“It highlighted in a very big way that the spirit of entrepreneurship in Ireland is very much alive and thriving and gives much hope for optimism for the future of our island. I would like to congratulate this year’s finalists and extend a very warm welcome into the EOY community. I know first-hand just how incredible an experience awaits them and I along with my fellow alumni look forward to them playing a valuable part in our network.”

For further information, visit www.eoy.ie.