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Student out to emulate Cosgrave with new 'Executive Summit'

 

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Barry O’Sullivan, a Bantry native and second-year economics student at UCC, says he is hoping for a sell-out. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Barry O’Sullivan, a Bantry native and second-year economics student at UCC, says he is hoping for a sell-out. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Barry O’Sullivan, a Bantry native and second-year economics student at UCC, says he is hoping for a sell-out. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

A 20-year-old student from Cork is aiming to be the next Paddy Cosgrave after landing six heavy-hitting CEOs for a business event that he has organised.

Executive Summit 2019 is the brainchild of UCC second-year economics student Barry O'Sullivan. The Cork student described the event - which takes place at Dublin's Clontarf Castle on April 5 - as akin to "TED talks for CEOs".

O'Sullivan said he was financing the event himself through his earnings from part-time jobs on a building site and in an Asian restaurant.

The first speaker to confirm was US businessman David McCourt, the CEO of Granahan McCourt Capital. Also due to speak are Daryl Byrne, CEO, Euronext Dublin; John O'Connor, CEO, Housing Agency; Michael Dawson, CEO Leinster Rugby; Pat McCann, CEO Dalata Hotel Group and Michael O'Flynn, CEO O'Flynn Group.

O'Sullivan is in discussion with other high-profile CEOs and hopes to have up to 12 speakers on the day, he said. The event will also include an in-depth panel discussion amongst the CEOs on Brexit, just days after Britain is due to leave the EU. "This is an opportunity to have a gathering of commercial leaders on an annual basis to gain the insight and the views of Irish CEOs and bring that to the Irish business community," said O'Sullivan. "This year I'm focused on selling out the event but in year two I aim to have a much more far-reaching event. This is a business I plan to scale."

The last Irish person to take a small niche event and grow it into a huge global phenomenon was Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave.

"Anyone running an event would certainly want to replicate the growth they've had over the past nine years and to scale to the extent they have scaled. I think Paddy Cosgrave gets too much flak and I see him as a trailblazer," said O'Sullivan.

Dalata boss McCann described the summit as "an excellent idea to bring together senior people from across different sectors to share their experience". "Barry O'Sullivan is a great ambassador for the next generation of entrepreneurs, and it's a remarkable achievement to have put together such an event while still in college. I very much look forward to contributing."

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