Entrepreneur scheme aims to unearth ‘hidden’ talent

TOO many business go-getters in the north are hiding their light under a bushel when they should be out inspiring others to help beat the recession, it was claimed yesterday.

“There’s an inherent spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in our very DNA in Northern Ireland but we need to tap into it in a better way,” Stormont junior minister Simon Hamilton said.

“We also need to move to an attitude where failure in business is treated as a life experience and not as the end of the world.”

Mr Hamilton was speaking in Belfast at the regional launch of the global Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year (EoY) programme.

Now in its 16th year, the initiative seeks to unearth the next generation of men and women who will help steer the island’s economy out of its malaise.

The north has provided two of previous outright winners – Dr Peter Fitzgerald, managing director of Randox Laboratories in Crumlin (2004) and Brian Conlon, founder of First Derivatives in Newry (2010).

But Northern Ireland was challenged yesterday to “do more” to unearth its fresh talent for this year’s EoY programme, which has been supporting entrepreneurs from across the island of Ireland to grow their businesses by becoming part of a unique community.

“Despite the continued fragile economic outlook, our best entrepreneurs will continue to build scale, compete globally and create significant jobs in Ireland, north and south.”

Frank O’Keeffe, partner-in-charge of the EoY programme said during the launch in the Ulster Hall.

“We want our Irish entrepreneurs to truly test their horizons,” he said.

“Their vision and flexibility to adapt to the changing environment will help drive the recovery, create jobs and boost confidence.

“Participation in the EoY programme not only ensures national and international recognition, but helps entrepreneurs to unlock business opportunities and enhance their ambition.

As in previous years, nominations will be whittled down to 24 finalists by May and they will travel with a significant number of the alumni community on a re-treat to Chicago and New York in June for a week of world-class executive education, networking with globally-renowned experts and chief executives from some of the world’s largest multi-nationals.

Then in October the finalists will gather at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Dublin at which three category winners (emerging, industry and international) along with an overall winner will be announced (the latter will go on to represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards).

■ Entry forms are available on www.eoy.tv or by contacting Ernst & Young on (003531) 221 2250 or by emailing www.eoy.tv. The closing date for nominations is March 31.

Source: irishnews.com