NI en­trepreneurs off to Dublin fi­nal

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News -

Six NI fi­nal­ists are short­listed for the EY En­tre­pre­neur of the Year Awards, which take place in Dublin on Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 26. Mar­garet Can­ning looks at the fi­nal three hop­ing to fol­low in the foot­steps of 2016 win­ner, NI man Bren­dan Mooney of Kainos

Pa­trick Mccann

The founder and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Sim­plyfruit (Ire) Ltd says he was “driven to­wards en­trepreneur­ship from an early age”. Pa­trick Mccann left ed­u­ca­tion at 17 but re­turned to Queen’s Univer­sity, Belfast at 26 where he won a prize for most note­wor­thy stu­dent, af­ter over­com­ing life-threat­en­ing in­juries in a car ac­ci­dent in his fi­nal year.

Sim­plyfruit can trace its ori­gins back to a small rented shed, pro­cess­ing ap­ples from neigh­bour­hood or­chards in Co Ar­magh. The com­pany says its growth has been fuelled by com­pet­i­tive mar­ket con­di­tions and de­vel­op­ing new prod­ucts to meet the chal­lenges of ris­ing obe­sity.

It’s now the largest man­u­fac­turer of fresh-cut fruit prod­ucts in Ire­land, with sales of over £10m and em­ploy­ing over 100 peo­ple.

Pa­trick is heav­ily in­volved in sport, most no­tably horse rac­ing, and has de­vel­oped a suc­cess­ful equine busi­ness, train­ing and breed­ing race­horses.

Trevor An­non

As founder and chair­man of The Mount Charles Group, Trevor An­non has led its growth into Ire­land’s largest home­grown food ser­vice and out­sourc­ing firm.

Trevor founded the busi­ness in 1988 af­ter work­ing for two ma­jor multi-na­tional cater­ing com­pa­nies. He recog­nised a gap in the mar­ket for a com­peti­tor in the home mar­ket. While start­ing out as a cater­ing com­pany, it’s now a multi-ser­vice provider, of­fer­ing cater­ing, clean­ing, se­cu­rity, fa­cil­i­ties man­age­ment, events and bev­er­age ser­vices and vend­ing to clients from a range of in­dus­try sec­tors.

Af­ter 25 years in the busi­ness, Trevor be­came chair­man of the com­pany four years ago.

In 2012, the com­pany de­cided to branch out into the Repub­lic of Ire­land, and now says it has “mul­ti­ple con­tracts in north Co Dublin and Co Done­gal”.

The group cur­rently em­ploys 2,100 peo­ple and has an­nual sales of over £32m.

Pa­trick Mcaliskey

As founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of IT firm Novosco, Pa­trick Mcaliskey has led the Belfast firm’s ex­pan­sion over 20 years.

He has de­liv­ered sig­nif­i­cant or­ganic growth, in ad­di­tion to strate­gic ac­qui­si­tions. He plays an ac­tive role in the com­mer­cial, lead­er­ship, PR and tal­ent man­age­ment ar­eas of the busi­ness in the UK and Ire­land. He is also a share­holder and non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of fast-grow­ing com­pa­nies Around Noon and Am­pliphae.

An elec­tron­ics tech­ni­cian by back­ground, he spent a pe­riod work­ing for the RAF be­fore re­turn­ing to North­ern Ire­land to found Novosco. The com­pany is now a man­aged cloud provider with clients across the UK and Ire­land, in­clud­ing two Pre­mier League foot­ball teams, some of the largest health trusts in the UK, ma­jor uni­ver­si­ties on the is­land of Ire­land, and some of the most im­por­tant pri­vate sec­tor busi­nesses in the UK and Ire­land. It em­ploys around 150 peo­ple and has an­nual sales of around £23m.

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