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Northern Ireland's top entrepreneurs make awards list


IT giant: Brendan Mooney of Kainos

IT giant: Brendan Mooney of Kainos

IT giant: Brendan Mooney of Kainos

Some of Northern Ireland's top entrepreneurs - ranging from the boss of a listed tech firm to a business which helps children walk - will learn this month whether they have walked away with a top industry award.

The finalists for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year have been revealed.

And the shortlist includes some of Northern Ireland's top and most forward-thinking business owners.

Among them is Kainos boss Brendan Mooney. The Co Antrim man, who hails from just outside Dunloy, joined Belfast-based Kainos back in 1989, when it employed little more than a dozen members of staff.

It's now one of only three Northern Ireland businesses to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Belfast IT giant Kainos says it will grow its workforce to 1,000 staff this year, as the company posted pre-tax profits of £14.3m during the firm's first full year as a listed company.

Kainos, which also has offices in Londonderry and Dublin, had revenue of £76.6m for the year to March 2016.

And in the 'industry' category, 3fivetwo Group's Dr Suresh Tharma and Ashok Songra have also been shortlisted.

The firm has two hospitals, located in Northern Ireland and the Republic, and associated healthcare related companies.

It boasts turnover of more than £30m, employs 300 people and also works with more than 700 consultants and 400 other healthcare professionals.

Joining the firm in the 'industry' category is James Leckey.

He has designed and manufactured equipment to improve the quality of life and social inclusion of children with special needs and their families worldwide.

It has grown internationally, with strong market positions in the US, Italy and Australia.

One of the products is the Upsee, a walking harness invented by mother Debby Elnatan for her son who has cerebral palsy.

In the 'emerging' category, Co Antrim-based cemetery software firm PlotBox brings technology to a traditional industry.

It allows cemetery managers control over their operations, using location driven data.

It's run by husband and wife Sean and Leona McAllister.

Other business owners making the short-list include Eamon Donnelly of Uform. It's a Toomebridge-based company which sells kitchen doors and components to independent kitchen retailers.

Jim Wright of Armagh business JMW Farms is also in the running. The group of companies concentrates on pig and feed production.

And Gareth Loye of M&M Contractors is also vying for a chance to take home an award.

The Belfast firm is a 30-year-old business providing telecommunication and electrical infrastructures.

The winner will be announced in Dublin on October 27.

Belfast Telegraph