Belfast Telegraph

Innovators in running for top award


By Margaret Canning

Six NI finalists are shortlisted for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which takes place in Dublin on Thursday, October 26. Margaret Canning looks at four people hoping to follow in the footsteps of 2016 winner, NI man Brendan Mooney of Kainos plc

Darragh Cullen

Co Tyrone engineer Darragh Cullen is founder of Edge Innovate. The company has customers around the world, but Mr Cullen says he remains wedded to his roots in the village of Edendork. He says he is committed to the journey of constant improvement to business and self, with innovation at the centre of both.

Edge Innovate designs, manufactures and distributes products to help recycle waste and convey and stack materials.

Its portfolio is split into recycling equipment, which helps separate waste and makes it easier for products to be reused, and materials handling. The materials handling equipment is used for the transport and stockpiling of materials such as soil, stone, sand and coal.

Since it was founded in 2009, the company has grown significantly. Its most recent accounts record pre-tax profits of £1.9m and employs 140 people.

Brendan Monaghan

Queen's University graduate Brendan Monaghan founded software firm Neueda in 2006 after a career ranging from manufacturer Powerscreen to BIC Systems and Kainos plc.

His firm provides digital technology to international leaders in government, utilities and finance. Clients include Bloomberg, Citi Bank and ESB.

The firm has grown by over 30% year-on-year since 2012, and now employs 220 business experts, data analysts and IT specialists in Belfast and London. It's aiming for revenues of £100m. Neueda was also ranked in the Great Place to Work Awards 2017.

In 2016, it was listed for the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Awards in recognition of its rapid growth, picked up a Deloitte Best Managed Company award and was nominated in three categories in the UK IT Industry Awards. In its latest results, the company announced a 50% jump in sales to £10.6m.

Gary and Andrew Irwin

Brothers Gary and Andrew are the third generation at the helm of Bedeck, which specialises in bedlinen.

It now has a portfolio of 14 bed and bath brands which have evolved from a business making handkerchiefs.

The company designs, sources and sells branded bedlinen and towels, both through wholesale and retail. Bedeck has enjoyed steady growth for nearly 30 years and now has turnover of around £40m.

It employs over 270 people in the UK and Ireland, with 90 based at a head office and warehouse in Magheralin.

Bedeck was founded by Alexander Irwin in 1951 and Gary and Andrew are his grandsons.

The business supplies branded product only and has moved manufacturing overseas. Its retail arm includes stores in Dungannon and Belfast, as well as 60 concessions and 20 outlet stores.

Belfast Telegraph

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