Over 80 of Ireland’s most dynamic entrepreneurs travel to San Francisco today for the largest unofficial trade mission to leave Irish shores – the annual EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ (‘EOY’) CEO Retreat. Taking place from the 29th of May until the 2nd of June, the Retreat will focus on the theme of ‘Leading through Change’, particularly exploring how other world leaders have coped with, and capitalised on change within their industries.
The entrepreneurs will also hear from decision makers at the helm of San Francisco’s most successful start-ups and globally renowned brands, as well as leading academics from Stanford University. In addition, EY will be visiting Singularity University, based on the NASA research centre. The city’s strong Irish diaspora and reputation for innovation and entrepreneurship presents a significant opportunity for the EOY community to gain a foothold in the US and to learn how to further internationalise their business.
Kevin McLoughlin, Partner Lead for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ commented: “This is our second time to travel to San Francisco for the CEO Retreat and is significant as we are now in our 20th year of the EOY programme in Ireland. The city was chosen because of its reputation as a hub for business and innovation and its links to Ireland, with many successful Irish businesses currently located there. The Retreat provides some of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs with the opportunity to step away from their day jobs and learn from the very best in business, entrepreneurship and academia. Being an entrepreneur can sometimes be create a sense of isolation so this network of support in the shape of the other entrepreneurs on the trip is invaluable.”
The agenda for San Francisco comprises of master classes with entrepreneurs and business leaders, as well as leading academics from Stanford University. These are unique opportunities which will challenge the entrepreneurs to see their businesses with a fresh perspective. Notable speakers include Consul General Philip Grant, Professor, Stuart Coulson from Stanford, Mayor of San Francisco Ed Lee, Liam Casey, PCH, Sean O’Sullivan from SOSV and Jim Marggraff, Director, Product Management at Google.
Representing entrepreneurial businesses across the island of Ireland, and drawn from a wide range of sectors including technology, healthcare, manufacturing, FMCG and retail, this year’s 24 finalists collectively employee over 5,000 people and have revenues of over €475 million.
Mike McKerr, Managing Partner of EY Ireland added: “It is important to acknowledge and support the role entrepreneurship plays as a source of employment, wealth creation and economic growth here in Ireland. Through the CEO Retreat, we hope to engage, empower and inspire this network of entrepreneurs by providing an opportunity to collaborate in both personal and professional mentoring, as well as educational workshops that will challenge them and give them the tools to accelerate their growth trajectory.”
The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ programme is supported by Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, The Irish Times and Newstalk.