Nominees will be hoping to follow the footsteps of 2021 awards winner, Fermoy’s Bran O’Sullivan
ENTREPRENEURS from across Cork have been invited to pitch their claim to follow in the footsteps of a Fermoy man who last year scooped one of the country’s most prestigious business awards.
Nominations are now being sought from merging businesses to established and international groups across all sectors from for the 2022 EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme.
Now in its 25th year, the initiative aims to highlight the outstanding efforts of individuals across the island of Ireland who make up the backbone of our vibrant business sector.
The awards programme is divided into three categories - emerging, established and international - with eight finalists chosen per category.
One of these will be crowned the overall EY Entrepreneur of the Year and will go on to represent Ireland the world Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
The winner of the 2021 award was Fermoy native Brian O’Sullivan, the founder, owner and CEO of Little Island-based Zeus Packaging.
Mr O’Sullivan founded Zeus in 1998 and despite the challenges of recession and more recently the Covid pandemic, has overseen the growth of the company into a global leader in its field, with a turnover of €300 million and a workforce of 670 employees operating in more than two-dozen countries.
A beaming Mr O’Sullivan was given a standing ovation as he made his way to the stage at the gala awards ceremony in Dublin, which was also watched by a virtual audience of more than 2,000 people online.
Accepting the award, Mr O’Sullivan said it was a “huge vindication for all the hard work.”
Asked by co-host Aoibhín Garrihy if he had any message for budding entrepreneurs watching the ceremony, Mr O’Sullivan urged them to be resilient and work hard.
“You need to make sure you have heaps of common sense, plenty of kop on and that you have goals. You set those goals and one they are achieved, you move on - keep going and keep driving forward,” said Mr O’Sullivan.
“Don’t be defined by the background you come from, - keep going, keep trying and make sure you work hard. This means so much to me personally, to my family and to all at Zeus, so thank you very much,” he added.
Speaking recently about the programme programme, he said winning the overall award was “one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.”
“It validated years of hard work and ambition, opening up a whole new business network for Zeus,” he said.
Announcing details of the 2022 programme, John Higgins of EY Cork revealed that for the first time it will include a ‘Sustainability Award’, which will be presented to the finalists the judging panel believe has made the biggest contribution towards environmental sustainability through their business.
Mr Higgins said the 25th anniversary of the awards was a significant milestone, offering “an excellent opportunity to pause, reflect on and celebrate the truly meaningful impact that a generation of entrepreneurs have made to business and life across the island of Ireland.”
“Our alumni of over 560 entrepreneurs represent the very best of innovation, bravery and leadership, building world class businesses, creating employment and inspiring others to become change makers in their own right,” said Mr Higgins.
“We start this 25th year of the programme with optimism and a strong belief that the health of Irish entrepreneurship is stronger than ever,” he added.
For more information about the programme and the nomination process visit www.ey.com/en_ie/entrepreneur-of-the-year.