Kainos Group CEO Brendan Mooney has been named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year for 2016 in the all-Ireland competition for business leaders.
Mr Mooney who heads a team 950 people in Belfast and offices around the world was given an ovation by his peers at the Dublin event and will now represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in Monte Carlo in June next year.
More than 1,500 business leaders from across the island of Ireland and around the world were in attendance at the awards gala, alongside guest of honour An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, to celebrate the achievements of the 24 finalists who collectively employ over 3,000 people and last year generated revenues in excess of half a billion euro.
Founded in Belfast in 1987, Kainos is now the largest indigenous IT services company in Northern Ireland and is widely held as one of the key seed companies around which the Belfast IT sector has grown.
With a market capitalisation of £235 million, it develops solutions for businesses and organisations in the public, healthcare and financial services sectors, and in the last four years alone has delivered 33% compound growth.
Speaking at the awards An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “We pride ourselves on being a small but open country for doing business.
“These 24 finalists exemplify the very best talent that Ireland has to offer, competing on a global stage with some of the world’s biggest and most innovative companies.
“Entrepreneurship is one of the driving forces behind Ireland’s continued economic prosperity, and makes a real difference in local communities across Ireland.
“It can provide people with options to stay and develop real careers in their localities and counties while at the same time winning business both at home in Ireland and abroad.”
Anne Heraty, chair of the judging panel added: “The quality of the final 24 outstanding entrepreneurs made the task of the judges extremely difficult.
“Whether in emerging, industry or international categories, each of the finalists demonstrated a tenacity and a passion to drive real change and find better and smarter ways to solve complex problems.
“After a rigorous judging process, Kainos emerged as the overall winner of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016. Brendan Mooney is an inspirational leader who has grown Kainos from 12 employees to a global business employing almost 1,000 people today.
“With a clear vison, he has positioned the company as a leader in digital technology supporting over 150 customers globally.”