Nine Northern Ireland business people are in the running to be named EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year on Thursday night.

The local entrepreneurs are shortlisted in each catergory - emerging, industry and international.

They are:

  • Sean and Leona McAllister from PlotBox

  • Eamon Donnelly from Uform

  • James Leckey from James Leckey Design Ltd/Firefly/VIDA

  • Jim Wright from JMW Farms/Crockway Farms

  • Gareth Loye from M&M Contractors

  • Dr Suresh Tharma and Mr Ashok Songra from 3fivetwo Group

  • Brendan Mooney from Kainos Group

They are among 24 leading entrepreneurs from across the island of Ireland who are going head-to head for the title of 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

Collectively employing over 3,000 people and having generated revenues in excess of half a billion Euro in the past year, this year’s finalists range from listed to private entrepreneur-led companies across a broad spectrum of industries and sectors including food, retail, technology, manufacturing and life sciences.

Our independent panel of judges have deliberated over this year’s finalists by looking at the characteristics which define a true entrepreneur – the ability to innovate, grow and scale a business from the ground up, and overcome the hurdles which are presented along the way.

Kevin McLoughlin, Partner Lead, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Ireland

All of the finalists’ achievements will be celebrated at the Awards Gala in Dublin on Thursday, where Taoiseach Enda Kenna will be guest of honour.

A winner will be selected from each of the three categories and, from these three winners; an overall winner will be announced and crowned as EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2016.

The overall winner will then go on to represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Awards in Monaco in June 2017, competing against over 60 leading entrepreneurs from across the globe

The ceremony will be televised on UTV at 10.40pm on Thursday.