Nominations open for 25th EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) programme celebrates its 25th anniversary on the island of Ireland this year and officially opens its call for nominations.

Jeremy Fitch, executive director, Invest NI, Rob Heron, partner lead for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year in Northern Ireland, Jackie Reid, founder, Deli Lites and EOY finalist in 2021 and Jonathan Dobbin, managing director/senior adviser, Julius Baer International
Jeremy Fitch, executive director, Invest NI, Rob Heron, partner lead for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year in Northern Ireland, Jackie Reid, founder, Deli Lites and EOY finalist in 2021 and Jonathan Dobbin, managing director/senior adviser, Julius Baer International

Entrepreneurs from emerging businesses to established international group are invited to submit their nominations between now and 28 February 2022.

Rob Heron, partner lfor EY EOY in NI said: “The 25th anniversary of the programme is a fantastic milestone and it’s an excellent opportunity to pause, reflect on and celebrate the fantastic creativity, determination and leadership that characterises entrepreneurs on the island of Ireland. “What we have seen over the last two years in particular has cemented our belief that entrepreneurs are special. Our alumni of over 560 entrepreneurs have each displayed great innovation and ingenuity as they faced one of our biggest challenges, and they have each found creative ways to support their businesses, their people and their communities through the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are proud to support entrepreneurs who are actively seeking to take their businesses to the next level and we are keen to hear from a broad array of nominees, across industries, age, gender, location and background. I am also personally very excited at the prospect of welcoming another cohort of tremendously talented entrepreneurs to this unique and incredibly supportive group.”

The programme is open to entrepreneurs from all sectors and growth stages in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The awards programme is divided into three categories - Emerging, Established and International - with eight finalists chosen per category.

This year, the programme’s inaugural EY EOY Sustainability Award will also be presented to one of the finalists, recognising the critical importance of innovation leadership in meeting our collective sustainability challenges. This award will be presented to the finalist who is making the biggest contribution towards environmental sustainability through their business.

Rob added: “It has been so inspiring to see how Northern Ireland’s entrepreneurs continually strive to find new, sustainable ways of delivering their products and services. They are constantly innovating to protect our future and transforming their businesses to help address some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues. I’m delighted that this year we will have the opportunity to recognise one of our finalists who are leading the way in this space and who have made sustainability an integral part of their business practice.”

The 24 finalists will be selected by an independent judging panel, comprising former winners and chaired by Anne Heraty of CPL Resources plc.

Aimee Connolly, CEO, Sculpted by Aimee and winner of the 2021 Emerging EY EOY category, will join the judging panel this year.

Anne Heraty, CEO of CPL Resources plc and chairperson of the EY EOY judging™ panel said: “I am delighted to welcome Aimee to the judging panel, following her win of the Emerging EY EOY Award in 2021. Aimee and her business epitomise what this programme is all about – great ideas, expert knowledge and true grit and determination. I have no doubt that Aimee will have invaluable wisdom to share with our next group of finalists.

“While the business environment continues to be challenging, entrepreneurs have been relentless in their pursuit of excellence and in playing their role in strengthening and supporting the resilience of the communities and economies across the island of Ireland in an uncertain climate. We know there are many more brilliant entrepreneurs contributing in this way and we look forward to welcoming the next generation of entrepreneurs to the programme.”

Aimee Connolly, CEO, Sculpted by Aimee added: “I am thrilled to join the judging panel for EOY. My experience of the programme in 2021 was fantastic from start to finish. What stood out for me as a finalist was the amazing support that I felt from the alumni community right from the beginning. It was a real privilege to be surrounded by people who are continually setting the bar ever higher in business and I’m looking forward to meeting and working with the next group of finalists in 2022.”

The EY EOY Ireland programme is supported by Premium Corporate Sponsor Julius Baer International, and Government sponsors Enterprise Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland.

Anyone interested can find out more or complete an online nomination form at www.eoy.ie. Those nominating someone else must do so with the entrepreneur’s consent.