Draperstown’s Laurence O’Kane is among the 24 shortlisted finalists who will compete for the coveted title of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 tonight in Dublin.
The well known local man has had a string of successful businesses and is heavily involved in the local community.
Collectively, the 24 finalists employ more than 13,000 people and generate annual revenues of €1.2bn.
2019 marks the twenty-second anniversary of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ in Ireland.
The prestigious business awards programme is divided into three categories - Emerging, Industry and International - with eight finalists chosen per category.
The 24 finalists have been selected by an independent panel of judges made up of former EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ winners including Anne Heraty, CEO of Cpl Resources plc and Chairperson of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Judging Panel.
Mr O’Kane, a pharmacist by profession began by opening his first pharmacy in Draperstown back in 1986.
He employed two members of staff, with a turnover of £300k.
Today he employs 180 staff across the five companies with a projected turnover for 2019 of €100m.
He also plays an active role in the local community and is chairman of Workspace Ltd (a social enterprise based in Draperstown with 180 staff and turnover of £12m).
Mr O’Kane is also Chairman of Board of Governors of a local Primary School.
He Chaired the Northern Local Commissioning Group for four years.
Mr O’Kane’s approach to developing his businesses is to trust his staff and to support and empower them as much as possible.