Entrepreneurs return from EOY CEO retreat in North America


Over 110 of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs are back in Ireland following last week’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year CEO retreat in Vancouver and Seattle.

The retreat, which was attended by this year’s finalists and a number of EOY alumni, was, according to the organisers, “focused on equipping the entrepreneurs in attendance with the building blocks to create a robust global vision for their respective businesses”.

“The CEO Retreat exposed our entrepreneurs to visionaries across all walks of life, from the founders of cutting-edge emerging companies to the president and CEO of global aerospace giant Boeing” said Frank O’Keeffe, partner-in-charge of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year. “Whether they were artists, politicians or chief executives, the speakers we brought in to address and inspire our group all started with a clear vision for global success.”

The itinerary included executive education at the University of Washington and University of British Columbia, as well as guest lectures from Singularity University.  There were private tours of the EA Sports, Microsoft and Boeing headquarters, as well as addresses by president and CEO of Boeing Commercial, Ray Conner; venture capitalist and former CFO of Microsoft, John Connors; Geordie Rose of D-Wave; founder and CEO of Hootsuite, Ryan Holmes; and the mayor of Seattle Ed Murray.

“The knowledge and networks accessed by our entrepreneurs during this retreat would be indispensable to any forward-looking business leader and having over 100 of Ireland’s key job creators engaged at this level is a considerable asset for the Irish business landscape,” said O’Keeffe.

Based on the bootcamp MBA model, the week was designed to put the entrepreneurs through their paces, encouraging them to learn from the speakers, executive education and guest lecture series as well share their experiences and problem-solve with their peers through designated team discussions

Filming for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year TV series on RTE will begin in late July before the finalists meet the independent judging panel for their final assessment.  Chaired by 2002 winner Pádraig Ó Céidigh, the judging panel includes other previous winners Denis O’Brien, Jerry Kennelly, Anne Heraty, Liam Casey, Brian Long, Terry Clune, Pat McDonagh and Dr Edmond Harty, as well as representatives from Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland and InterTradeIreland.

Grainne Rothery