John Purdy of consultative IT services provider Ergo was last night named as the EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year. Mr Purdy defeated seven other shortlisted businesses to secure the renowned accolade. Since it was founded, Ergo has grown from three to more than 200 employees, with turnover rising from £300,000 in 1993 to €24.5 million in 2013. The company has become IT partner to a number of organisations, including the GAA, Primark, Eircom, Mercury Engineering and Laya Healthcare.
With a focus on research into new products and services, 2013 saw Ergo’s first product, FlowForma, an enterprise forms management tool with business process functionality being developed, launched in Ireland and exported to Britain. “To sustain long-term growth and keep apace in a fast-moving industry like technology requires continuous innovation and an ability to adapt to constant change” said Frank O’Keeffe, partner in charge of EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition. “Under John Purdy’s leadership, Ergo has managed to evolve and stay nimble over the past 20 years to achieve their prolonged success, in spite of the difficult economic climate and altering technology landscape.”
When presented with his award, Mr Purdy said: “When I told my mother I was setting up the business, I said "what if I fail?". Her answer was: "just get up and go again". She was the initial inspiration behind what we do.” He later said the business was “on a steep growth path”. “We are a business that never stays still. We want to double our income in the next three years. We are only at the foot of the mountain.”
The other finalists in the industry category for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year were: Pat McCann of Dalata Hotel Group; Vincent Cleary, Gerard Cleary, Brian Cleary and Mark Cleary of Glenisk; Ian Haldane of Haldane Shiells; Mark Hutchinson of Hutchinson Engineering, Michael Hall and Lorraine Hall of Kestrel Foods; Gregory O’Gorman and Marian O’Gorman of Kilkenny Group, and Ian Wilson of Wilsons Auctions. The winners were selected by an independent panel of judges chaired by Pádraig Ó Céidigh.
The judging panel also included previous winners Denis O’Brien, Jerry Kennelly, Anne Heraty, Liam Casey, Brian Long, Terry Clune, Pat McDonagh, Dr Edmond Harty and representatives from Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland and InterTradeIreland.
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