Bill Wolsey named Industry EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™

Dublin, Friday, 26 October 2018: Bill Wolsey of Beannchor Group has been named the Industry EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ for 2018 at the 21st annual awards ceremony held in Dublin last night. More than 1,500 business leaders from across the island of Ireland were in attendance at the awards gala, alongside guest of honour, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, to celebrate the achievements of the 24 finalists. The 2018 finalists collectively employ more than 2,700 people and last year generated revenues in excess of €150.3 million.

Bill Wolsey is Managing Director of the Beannchor Group, owners of the five – AA – star Merchant Hotel, over 40 pubs, the popular Little Wing Pizzeria chain of restaurants, the Bullitt Hotel and many of Northern Ireland’s best-loved restaurants and pubs. Originally from Ballysillan, North Belfast, he opened his first bar in Bangor almost 40 years ago. Today, the Beannchor Group is one of Northern Ire land’s largest employers in the hospitality industry, with over 750 employees.

Commenting on Bill Wolsey’s award win, Jeremy Fitch of Invest Northern Ireland said:

“Bill has created a huge amount of employment in Northern Ireland over the last 40 years. Beannchor Group is one of the largest hospitality groups on the island of Ireland. Bill’s tenacity and attention to detail is evident in everything he does. I am delighted that his hard work and that of his staff has been recognised here tonight.”

Daniel Mackey and Peter Coppinger from Teamwork were named winners of the International and overall EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ awards. is a self-funded Software as a Service (SaaS) company headquartered in Cork city which has been in business for 11 years. The company was founded by developers Peter Coppinger and Daniel Mackey. Today, it has 22,000 paying customers across 183 countries, employs 200 people and has a remote workforce in 15 countries, with office locations in five of those. The company lists some of the world’s most influential companies as their clients, including Disney, Spotify and Netflix. Daniel and Peter will now go on to represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Awards in Monte Carlo in June 2019, where he will compete with over 60 leading entrepreneurs from across the globe.

Kevin McLoughlin, Partner Lead for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Ireland added:

“We are delighted to be celebrating the 21st year of the programme in Ireland. Over that time, we have seen a huge diversity in terms of the participants and the companies they are representing. Bill Wolsey has built an incredible company in the Beannchor Group over the last 40 years. As one of Northern Ireland’s leading employers and one of the largest hospitability groups on the island of Ireland, it is amazing to see what can be achieved through hard work and dedication. All the Finalists, their families and their employees can be proud of their achievement. The standard this year, as in previous years has been extremely high. On behalf of EY I would like to congratulate all of our 24 finalists, and in particular Teamwork, Beannchor Group and Carrick Therapeutics”

Chaired by the 2006 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Anne Heraty, the judging panel includes previous EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ (overall and category)  winners Michael Carey, Mark Roden, Evelyn O’Toole, Dr. Edmond Harty, Joe Hogan, Jerry Kennelly, Brendan Mooney, Pat McDonagh and Denis O’Brien as well as Joe Healy from Enterprise Ireland and Jeremy Fitch from Invest Northern Ireland. When determining the winners, the judges evaluate a number of criteria, including: innovation; value creation; strategic direction; financial performance; national and global impact; and the entrepreneur’s contribution to society and industry.

Speaking at the awards gala in Dublin, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD said:

“The EY Entrepreneur of the Year winners, and finalists, have shown great leadership, determination and ambition in striving to achieve success in their business. Tonight marks the 21st year of the programme in Ireland; a real signal of EY’s dedication to supporting entrepreneurs and rewarding the efforts of new business leaders.

“Small and medium sized enterprises are the lifeblood of our economy; and Government recognises this. The role SMEs play in job creation – accounting for almost 70% of the workforce – underlines the vital role they play in our general economic success. That is why measures were recently adopted in Budget 2019 to help support SMEs, as well as new start-ups. It is also why Government will launch a new Future Jobs programme in the New Year, to support businesses in improving productivity and to ensure future skills needs are met in this ever changing world.

“Tonight we celebrate achievement and accomplishments, of which all participants should be exceptionally proud.  I am delighted to acknowledge the contribution entrepreneurs make to the economy and to our society and to wish all the very best of luck for the future.”

Each year EY presents a Special Award to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the island of Ireland through their entrepreneurial vision, innovation and commitment to excellence. This year, the prestigious honour was awarded to Sean O’Sullivan of SOSV. Throughout his career, Sean has placed a premium on innovation that really makes a difference and looks to solve the complex problems our world faces; his support of innovation through entrepreneurship has inspired many. He is credited with co-creating the term “cloud computing”. As the founding Chairman of the Irish Entrepreneurship Forum and founder of Open Ireland, he has been a leader and influencer of Irish government policy in fuelling economic growth and recovery in the technology sector.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Ireland programme is supported by Premium Corporate Sponsor: Julius Baer International; Government sponsors: Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI; and Media Partners: Newstalk, The Irish Times and RTE. The Gala Awards ceremony is available on RTE Player. The 2019 programme will be open for nominations from January 2019. For further information, please visit