Belfast Telegraph

Entrepreneur taking Ireland to world stage

By Clare Weir

The chief executive of one of Northern Ireland's fastest-growing companies is telling the world that Ireland is "open for business" as he jets off to compete in a global competition for entrepreneurs.

Brian Conlon of First Derivatives was speaking as he headed to Monte Carlo for the Ernst -amp; Young World Entrepreneur of the Year event.

He won the Irish Ernst -amp; Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition in October and received the award from the Republic's president Mary McAleese.

The Newry-based financial software company recently recorded a massive 44% rise in revenues to almost £37m over the past year.

First Derivatives, listed on the AIM stock market, provides software and consultancy to global investment banks and hedge funds and has operations in London, New York, Stockholm, Shanghai, Singapore, Toronto, Sydney, Dublin and Hong Kong.

From its foundation in 1996, First Derivatives has grown from a sole trader operation to the largest publicly listed financial software firm in Ireland, employing over 600 people, with a further 300 expected to be recruited over the next two years.

Mr Conlon said the firm's most important resources are "people and clients".

"It is this talent and skill demonstrated by our young graduates which will see Ireland through these challenging economic times," he said.

"The message I will be conveying to everyone I meet in Monte Carlo is that Ireland is open for business.

"The success of First Derivatives and similar firms who are competing in national and international markets is testament to the skill and ability of this talent pool.

"We have a quality education system with several leading universities and colleges producing graduates with the knowledge and skills to take their place amongst the best in even the most technical sectors. They are admired for a strong work ethic as well as an ability to assimilate easily into diverse business cultures.

"Foreign companies consistently cite the talent pool as one of the key factors in deciding to invest in our economy.

"I will be urging all entrepreneurs I meet to come and visit Ireland to explore its full potential as a base for any business focused on knowledge-based export driven products or services."

The competition will see finalists from over 50 countries converge on the Mediterranean city.


First Derivatives' total revenues for the past year after a 44% rise