THE head of Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of the Year competition, which was officially launched in Cork last week, has given a ringing endorsement of the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in the county.
Kerry has a strong record in the prestigious competition with nine finalists and one overall winner - Dr Edmond Harty of Dairymaster in 2012 - coming from Kerry since 2002.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Ernst and Young Partner in Charge of the Entrepreneur of the Year Frank O'Keeffe said Kerry has a particularly strong history and record of entrepreneurial success and he is eager to see more companies form the county getting involved in the competition.
"There is a huge interest in entrepreneurship in Kerry. It really is a unique environment and there is a real interest in fostering entrepreneurship across the county," he said.
"Kerry is one of Ireland's stalwart counties when it comes to entrepreneurial spirit.
"When it comes to our competition, Kerry is always one of the absolute standouts."
"What makes Kerry unique is the focus and energy attaching to fostering enterprise. A lot of that is thanks to Kerry Technology Park and the work of Shannon Development and IT Tralee where there is an awareness of the importance of innovation and how to turn and idea into a successful business," said Mr O'Keeffe.
Given his opinions of business and innovation in Kerry, Mr O'Keeffe says he's hopeful more local companies will apply to take part in the Entrepreneur of The Year competition this year.
One Kerry businessman who will definitely be involved this year is 2012 winner Dr Edmond Harty who is on the judging panel.
Dr Harty is also encouraging Kerry businesses to get involved.
"Winning created a great buzz across the entire company. It put us on an international stage and generated a lot of interest in our products from a global audience," he said.
"The award was in my name but it was because of the work of everyone at Dairymaster. It's the staff and people who make a company what it is. Someone has to set the agenda, but it's down to the whole team to make it work," he said.
"My message to other Kerry companies is definitely to get involved in the competition. When it was suggested at Dairymaster I was one of the hardest to convince but looking back it's one of the best decisions we ever made," he added.
"Any companies out there that are interested and have any questions about it can feel free to ring me anytime," he said.