The head of a Belfast tech firm has been crowned Ireland's entrepreneur of the year

Brendan Mooney of Kainos Group was presented with the prestigious prize in Dublin last night.

By Paul O'Donoghue

Brendan Mooney, the chief executive of Belfast-based technology company Kainos Group, was named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year at an event in Dublin last night.

The businessman picked up the prestigious award at a nationally televised ceremony held in Dublin.

Over 1,500 business leaders from across the island of Ireland and around the world were in attendance at the awards gala, alongside guest of honour Taoiseach Enda Kenny, to celebrate the achievements of the 24 finalists.

Together, the finalists employ over 3,000 people and last year generated revenues in excess of half a billion Euro.

Founded in Belfast in 1987, Kainos is now the largest indigenous IT services company in Northern Ireland and one of only three publicly listed companies in the region.

The company “develops solutions for businesses and organisations in the public, healthcare and financial services sectors”.

Kainos has a market capitalisation of £235 million (€262 million) and in the last four years has delivered 33% compound growth.

In addition to being selected as the overall winner of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year for 2016, Mooney was also named EY International Entrepreneur Of The Year.

Mooney said that what his company has created “is very much down to the talented people we employ”.

“It is a real privilege for me to be a part of that team and to be recognised with this award,” he said.

NO FEE EYEOY 2016 MX51 Brendan Mooney, CEO of Kainos Group
Source: Maxwell Photography

Awards winners

Stephen Vernon of Green Property and director of Irish property group Green REIT was named EY Industry Entrepreneur Of The Year.

Paul Quigley and Andrew Mullaney of Newswhip picked up the award for EY Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year. Their media monitoring service tracks millions of news stories every day in more than 60 countries.

EY also presents a special award to an individual who has made a “significant contribution to the island of Ireland through their entrepreneurial vision”.

This year, the honour was awarded to astrophysicist Dr Susan McKenna-Lawlor, Emeritus Professor at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth and the founder and director of Space Technology Ireland.

NO FEE EYEOY 2016 MX50 (From left) Stephen Vernon, Brendan Mooney, Paul Quigley and Andrew Mullaney
Source: Maxwell Photography

Speaking at the awards gala in Dublin, Enda Kenny said that the competition’s finalists “exemplify the very best talent that Ireland has to offer, competing on a global stage with some of the world’s biggest and most innovative companies”.

“Entrepreneurship is one of the driving forces behind Ireland’s continued economic prosperity, and makes a real difference in local communities across Ireland,” he said.

“I want to congratulate Kainos, Green Property and NewsWhip on winning each award.”

Mooney will now go on to represent Ireland at the EY 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.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is one of the world’s most prestigious business awards programme for entrepreneurs, and is run in over 145 cities and 60 countries worldwide.

The EOY Ireland programme is now in its nineteenth year.