Irish entrepreneurs head to Cape Town for executive retreat

Trip forms part of EY’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year programme

More than 100 Irish entrepreneurs travelled to Cape Town on Sunday for the annual EY Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) chief executive retreat.

The 24 finalists in this year’s edition of EOY will be joined in South Africa by a group of the competition’s alumni along with representatives of Enterprise Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland.

Over the week of the retreat, the delegation will hear from a range of speakers from South African business and thought leaders to global executives and experts on a range of topics.

With a general election due in South Africa on May 29th, the finalists are visiting the country at a particularly interesting time.


“South Africa is the gateway to Africa for investment and global trade,” said Roger Wallace, EY partner lead for the EOY programme. “It’s a significant player in the global mining, manufacturing, and agricultural industries, with a flourishing technology sector.

“It’s also become a thriving hub of entrepreneurial talent with investment in many innovative start-ups based there increasing in recent years. Our group of Irish entrepreneurs will have the chance to experience a melting pot of cultures in Cape Town, and meet local entrepreneurs and learn more about the incredible opportunities that exist to trade and thrive in this region.”

Among other highlights, this year’s retreat will feature visits to University of Cape Town Graduate Business School; a township development hub; a start-up incubator, Innovation City; and a host of successful companies operating in and around the city.

The delegation will take part in a range of activities, from executive coaching and workshops to networking events and lectures.

The Irish EOY community generates annual revenues of €23 billion and employs in excess of 250,000 people across the island, according to EY.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times