Seasoned Entrepreneurs

Seasoned entrepreneurs who have confirmed their participation at the 2014 Entrepreneur Experience®:


JIM BARRY, Managing Director of Barry Group which has grown from a once local business to now one of Ireland’s leading wholesale distribution groups. Barry Group employs 240 people at its company headquarters in Mallow, Co. Cork.


LARRY BASS, CEO of Screentime ShinAwiL established ShinAwiL Productions Ltd in 1999 before forming a joint venture with Screentime Australia in 2003, and forming Screentime ShinAwiL, now one of the largest independent production companies in Ireland.


JIM BREEN founded PulseLearning in 1999 and is the driving force behind the company’s high standards of excellence and it’s rapid progression as a globally dominant organization. Jim was invited to join the board of CorkBIC in 2010 and is Chairman of the Entrepreneur Experience®.


JULIAN COSTLEY, a partner of Heaton Camillo, the investment and advisory firm that brings angel investors together with entrepreneurs. He was a Country Manager at Reuters, then created his own TV channel on BSB (later BSkyB), then founding CEO of France Telecom’s Globecast satellite company.  In 1998, together with Hermann Hauser, they created E*TRADE UK the UK’s first all-Internet stockbroking firm and effected a trade sale at the height of the dotcom boom.

PETER CROWLEY, founded Crowley Services and started Dyno Rod in Cork in 1975. Between 1978 and 1985 Dyno Rod expanded into the rest of Ireland and in 1990 Peter started BioFlow, a fats oil and grease (FOGs) management service to food serving establishments (FSEs) and is now the Industry leader.

JOHN FLAHERTY, CEO and founder of C&F Tooling started his tool making business in 1989 and has built the business to a global success consisting of 7 sites worldwide. In 2008 he took the huge step to invest in the wind industry. In 2008 John was named the 2008 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Ireland.


, Serial entrepreneur, technologist, digital marketer and business coach, co-founded Comnitel Technologies in 1999 and grew the company from start-up, raising €30M from investors. He also co-founded OmniVend in 2005, a successful network, revenue and service management company.


JOANNA GARDINER, Managing Director, Ovelle Pharmaceuticals, has led the company through a significant period of international growth since 2011. Taking on new investment, & implementing new sales and R&D strategies, resulted in the company’s innovative dermatological skincare brands Ovelle and Elave building on their success in Ireland opening up new markets in the UK, Europe, China and the US markets.

PAUL HANDS is a serial entrepreneur with over 30 years experience in the technology and business sectors. Paul founded a number of technology companies in Ireland, including QCLand QUMAS. Currently Paul is the business promoter of a number of high potential startup ventures focused on World Class University based innovation projects.

CANDACE JOHNSON is an international telecommunications expert and entrepreneur, and one of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Europe. She is co-initiator of SES ASTRA and SES Global, one of the largest satellite systems in the world. She is also the founder and president of Europe Online, the world's first Internet via satellite network and is the founder of the continent's first independent, private trans-border satellite communications company, Teleport Europe-Loral Cyberstar.

PEACHES KEMP co-founded Itsa Bagel with her sister Domini in 1999.  The Kemps now have 12 varied food branches in their company and employ 105 people: 6 itsa bagel shops in the greater Dublin area, 3 cafes in Dublin Castle and 2 restaurants in Brown Thomas Dublin and Cork.

BILL LIAO, diplomat, investor, entrepreneur, business mentor, philanthropist and author, co-founded the business social network XING, is a venture partner at SOS Ventures, a global venture capital and investment management firm and co-founded Coder Dojo, a movement to assist young people to learn how to program.


DAVID MCKERNAN, CEO & Founder of Java Republic, is a persistent, passionate and high-spirited entrepreneur. In 1999, he emerged from Bewley’s to found Java Republic Roasting Company. This innovative company quickly became one of Ireland’s most successful brands, and one of Europe’s leading coffee companies.

PAT O’FLYNN, CEO of Solvotrin, an entrepreneur with over 15 years experience in operational management and strategic leadership roles. He has successfully built businesses from inception and has a proven track record in the Pharmachem and related industries. Pat holds academic qualifications in engineering, business management and corporate finance.

GER O'MAHONY, has been involved in a number of successful technology start-ups; founding Engage Technologies Group and subsequent sale to NorthgateArinso (a FTSE 250 company) and co-founding Bridgecom Group and its subsequent sale to Denis O’Brien’s Esat Telecom. Recently Ger has focused on helping established companies like Action Point Technology Group and Voxpro Communications to scale and grow.

COLUM O’SULLIVAN (Sully) set up Cully & Sully in September 2004 with Cullen Allen from Ballymaloe House. Cully & Sully supply over 1,500 shops nationwide, and is exporting to both France and the UK. Cully & Sully were the first Irish company to win an=award at the Sial d’Or awards in Shanghai and then went on to the Global Sial d’Or awards in Paris.

KEVIN O'LEARY, CEO QUMAS,  has been with QUMAS since its inception and was responsible for the original design and development of the company's first product release. Kevin established the company's presence in the United States in 1997 and now serves as the company's chief executive officer.


COLM PIERCY is CEO of the Digiweb Group. Digiweb developed from an initial focus on web-hosting to become a major, independent telecoms player offering a full service portfolio including data, voice, hosting and broadband. Currently employs 160 people with a turnover in 2012 of 40 million. Colm won the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Industry Category.

, Chief Executive of Irish Mainport Holdings, an integrated marine services company providing global shipping services to offshore oil & gas exploration companies and international seismic operators. Mainport has offices in Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Norway, and the Caspian Sea area.


ASIER RUFINO, Deputy Director of Tecnalia Ventures, is focused on entrepreneurship and innovation by providing business development, strategy and coaching services to start-ups and SMEs. Asier most recently worked at the Basque Institute of Competitiveness (Orkestra) in projects such as the Business Angels Crecer+, the most successful business angel network in the Basque Country.

PETE SMYTH, Captain of the 2014 Entrepreneur Experience®
, founded Broadlake Capital in early 2009 with a view to providing capital and support to growing companies. Previously, Pete was Chief Executive of Noonan Services Group, which was sold in 2008, at the time the company had an annual turnover of €120m and employed 5,500 staff.


, a diagnostic imaging specialist, founded Global Diagnostics in 2002, a simple digital tele-radiology solution. Global Diagnostics, now headquartered in Dublin,  recorded revenues of €26M to June 2012 and 200 Staff internationally. Johnny was a finalist in the 2010 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.


FRANKIE WHELEHAN, CEO, Choice Hotels, secured the Choice Hotel franchise for Ireland and developed the 4 Star Clarion Hotel Group, the 3 Star Quality Hotel Group and the budget Comfort Inn Group. Choice Hotels Ireland grew to become the largest 3 and 4 Star Hotel Group in Ireland and in 2007sold both the Quality Hotel and the Comfort Inn Groups.

Contact CorkBIC today to talk about starting your business and turn your ideas into reality! CorkBIC will supply you with a step by step guide on starting a business.

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