Brendan Mooney, the CEO of Belfast software company Kainos, has been named EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2016. Irish astrophysicist Susan McKenna-Lawlor was also honoured.
Kainos is the largest indigenous IT services company in Northern Ireland and employs 950 people in five countries.
With a market capitalisation of £235m, it develops solutions for businesses and organisations in the public, healthcare and financial services sectors. In the last four years alone, it has delivered 33pc compound growth.
Mooney will now go on to represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in Monte Carlo in June 2017, where he will compete with over 60 leading entrepreneurs from across the globe.
In addition to being selected as the overall winner of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year for 2016, Brendan Mooney was also named International Entrepreneur Of The Year.
Stephen Vernon of Green Property and director of Green REIT plc – which has a market cap of close to €1bn – was named Industry Entrepreneur Of The Year. Paul Quigley and Andrew Mullaney of NewsWhip picked up the award for Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year. Their media monitoring service tracks millions of news stories every day in more than 60 countries, and boasts over 320 clients globally.
Susan McKenna-Lawlor honoured
Each year, EY presents a Special Award to an individual who has made a significant contribution to Ireland through their entrepreneurial vision, innovation and commitment to excellence.
This year, the prestigious honour was awarded to astrophysicist Dr Susan McKenna-Lawlor, who is emeritus professor at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, and the founder and director of Space Technology Ireland.
In a rousing speech, McKenna-Lawlor reiterated her vision to create the first Irish spacecraft, which she first revealed on stage at Inspirefest in 2015.
“Dr McKenna-Lawlor is one of Ireland’s leading scientists, whose contribution to space exploration has inspired generations,” said EY’s partner leader Kevin McLoughlin.
“She has authored more than 250 publications and several books, and overseen projects that have built instrumentation launched by the European Space Agency, NASA, and the Chinese, Indian and Russian space agencies – all thanks to her boundless ambition and insatiable thirst for knowledge.
“Disruptive innovation such as this is the driver of modern day entrepreneurship, therefore it is appropriate that as we look forward to the 20th year of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme, we recognise an individual such as Dr McKenna-Lawlor, who is an excellent example of just what can be achieved through a willingness to continually evolve and innovate.”