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Ernst & Young announces 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year shortlist

Twenty-four companies have been shortlisted across three categories for the coveted 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® award. The MD of the C&F Group, John Flaherty is delighted to have made the shortlist of leading individuals in Irish business. Over 115 entries were received and nominees were subsequently interviewed by Ernst & Young, followed by rigorous assessment by a 12-strong panel of judges, chaired by telecoms entrepreneur, and previous recipient of the award, Mr. Denis O’Brien.

Eight companies have been chosen in each of the three categories – international, industry and emerging, and cover a cross section of business interests with healthcare and business IT solutions among the top industries represented.

Announcing the shortlist, Enda Kelly, Ernst & Young Partner-in-Charge of the Programme said “Entrepreneurs play a vital role in economic development and act as invaluable role models for a new generation of entrepreneurs. Our finalists confirm the pattern of previous years of vibrant entrepreneurship present right across the country. All display exceptional entrepreneurial vision, and it is important that we celebrate and recognise their achievement. Their creativity and risk-taking ability acts as the very foundation of our economic prosperity”.

The 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® programme continues to educate around the strategic value of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and this year’s emphasis will be on creating a sustainable environment. The CEO retreat returns to Haiti in June, where finalists, along with previous year’s finalists will work with some of the world’s poorest communities. Here they will impart their knowledge and expertise, to develop the sustainable businesses, set up by last year’s finalists, and, in addition, help create practical solutions to Haiti’s environmental disadvantages – deforestation, soil erosion and water pollution.

“Successful entrepreneurs constantly adapt to changes in the business climate, and now that the age of physical climate change is upon us, these are the visionaries who will make global sustainability a reality, added Kelly.

The 24 finalists in the 2008 programme will be profiled in further detail in the Irish Times and will also feature in a three-part series to appear on RTE in October. The winner will be announced at a televised Awards Ceremony on 23rd October, held at City West Hotel, Dublin.

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® Award is part of a global recognition programme, to identify, acclaim and support entrepreneurs. The programme is currently run in over 40 countries, across six continents and in 2008 more than 10,000 entrepreneurs worldwide will be nominated. The Irish programme, now in its 11th year, has been identified as one of the strongest worldwide.

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® is run in association with The Irish Times, RTE, Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland, Invest Northern Ireland, Trinity Business School and Digicel.

Further information on the finalists and the features of the 2008 programme can be viewed online at www.eoy.ie