Life Scientific’s Nicola Mitchell named 2020 EY Entrepreneur of the Year

13 Nov 2020858 Views

Nicola Mitchell, founder and chief executive of Life Scientific, with her EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award. Image: Naoise Culhane Photography

Nicola Mitchell of Life Scientific was named the overall winner at the 2020 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Held virtually for the first time, the 2020 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards had a total of 24 finalists seeking to take home a number of prizes, with more than 2,000 people watching. Collectively, the finalists in this year’s programme employ more than 5,000 people and have revenues in excess of €400m.

Nicola Mitchell, founder and chief executive of Life Scientific, was named the international and overall 2020 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year. Founded in 1995, Dublin-headquartered Life Scientific specialises in the development and registration of off-patent agrochemicals. It now has a portfolio of more than 60 products available in EU agrochemical markets, and has more than 70 employees.

John O’Connell, co-founder of West Cork Distillers, received the award for EY Industry Entrepreneur Of The Year. Founded in 2008, the company has a distillation capacity of 4m litres of pure alcohol and its products are now sold in almost 70 countries.

Matt Cooper, co-founder of Inflazome, received the award for EY Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year. Founded with Trinity College Dublin’s Prof Luke O’Neill, Inflazome is developing breakthrough medicines to stop harmful inflammation.

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The company currently has two new drugs in clinical trials: Inzomelid for neurodegenerative diseases in the brain and Somalix for inflammatory diseases in the rest of the body. Inflazome was recently snapped up in a €380m deal with pharma giant Roche.

Special awards

A special award was presented to frontline workers of the HSE and An Garda Síochána – accepted on their behalf by HSE CEO Paul Reid and Garda commissioner Drew Harris – for their efforts over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The judging panel was chaired by Anne Heraty, co-founder of CPL and 2006 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year winner. The panel also included winners from other years including Michael Carey, Mark Roden, Evelyn O’Toole, Dr Edmond Harty, Joe Hogan, Jerry Kennelly, Brendan Mooney, Harry Hughes and Denis O’Brien. It also included Jennifer Melia from Enterprise Ireland and Jeremy Fitch from Invest NI.

Speaking of this year’s finalists, Heraty said: “The standard of competition between this year’s finalists was incredibly high. It is brilliant to see so many homegrown entrepreneurs at the forefront of their industries, which is testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that’s so prevalent across the island.

“Each of the winners’ vision and innovation has been critical to the success of their respective businesses and we look forward to following their continuing success into the future.”

Colm Gorey is a senior journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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