Kildare's Sonia Deasy and Tom Cronin among Entrepreneur of The Year finalists

Finalists revealed today

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Kildare's Sonia Deasy and Tom Cronin among Entrepreneur of The Year finalists

Sonia Deasy

Two Kildare business people have been chosen as two of the 24 finalists of the 2019 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ireland programme.

The finalists have been revealed today. Collectively, the finalists employ more than 13,000 people and generate annual revenues of almost €1.2bn. The finalists will compete across three categories - Emerging, Industry and International, with one winner being named The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019.

The finalists have been shortlisted from more than 120 nominations by an independent judging panel of previous winners, chaired by Anne Heraty, CEO of CPL Resources Plc, and winner of the 2006 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award.

This year’s shortlist includes Kildare-based entrepreneurs: Tom Cronin, Rye River Brewing Company, and Sonia Deasy, Pestle & Mortar. They follow in the footsteps of well-known Kildare business person John Flahavan, E. Flahavan & Sons, who was a finalist in 2009.

Ms Heraty commented: “As with every year, the standard of nominees has been incredibly strong. The judging panel always has a very tough job trying to reach a shortlist of 24 finalists but it is fantastic to see a wide range of different industries represented. I am proud to be able to play a part in recognising the brave entrepreneurs who are creating employment across the island. It’s wonderful to see so many thriving companies driven by entrepreneurs who are boldly pushing themselves and the teams to the forefront of their industries.

"This year’s finalists are at the start of what will be a very exciting journey, not just this year but as they become part of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ community. I’d like to wish them the very best at the beginning of an unforgettable journey through the programme and beyond.’’

Kevin McLoughlin, Partner Lead for the EY Entrepreneur of The Year programme said: “2019 has been an incredibly competitive year for nominees. The judges have arrived at an exceptional list of finalists. This year, our shortlist has everything from fast food to energy, with many of the entrepreneurs representing businesses that are household names. Cutting-edge technology businesses are prominent again this year, alongside a strong mix of more traditional businesses. The standard of the finalists this year is reflective of a very healthy entrepreneurial community on the island of Ireland.

"These entrepreneurs are the ones bravely taking risks to drive innovation and create employment in every town and village across the island, something EY has been very proud to be able to directly support over the last 22 years through EY Entrepreneur Of The Year. I am looking forward to getting to know this year’s finalists as they become part of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year community.”

This year’s finalists will join more than 60 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni for a week of executive education and exclusive corporate insights in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Macau in May. The CEO Retreat is the island’s largest unofficial trade mission, specifically focused on fostering entrepreneurship. The retreat will focus on developing the entrepreneurs, and facilitating an environment for networking and problem-solving.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ireland programme is supported by Premium Corporate Sponsor Julius Baer International, and Government sponsors Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI.