Brian O’Sullivan of Zeus Packaging named 2021 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year

EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner, Aimee Connolly of Sculpted by Aimee ; 2021 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner, Brian O’Sullivan of Zeus Packaging; and 2021 EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner, David Henderson of Tobermore Concrete ; (Pic: Naoise Culhane)

David Henderson of TobermoreConcrete Limited named 2021 EY Industry Entrepreneur Of The Year while Aimee Connolly of Sculpted by Aimee named 2021 EY Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year



30 November 2021 | 0

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Brian O’Sullivan, founder and Chief Executive of Zeus Packaging has been named the International and overall 2021 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY).  The annual awards ceremony was held as a primarily virtual event and was attended by a virtual audience of more than 2000 people. In a year where the programme received a record number of nominations, this year’s finalists collectively employ more than 3,900 people and have revenues in excess of €1 billion.

Brian O’Sullivan is the founder, owner and CEO of Zeus, one of the largest privately owned packaging companies in Europe. His strategy since establishing Zeus in 1998 has been one of expansion, with acquisitions financed by bank credit rather than outside investment.

O’Sullivan has led the significant growth of the company from its headquarters in Ireland to many other markets worldwide. This has been fuelled by impressive organic growth and strategic acquisitions, opening up new industries and opportunities.  The company now employs more than 670 people with a turnover of over €300 million.

Meanwhile, David Henderson, the managing director of Tobermore was named the 2021 EOY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year. Tobermore was founded in 1942 and manufactures high quality paving products. David Henderson joined the company in 1976 and became managing director in 1987. Since then, Tobermore has focused on business excellence agenda to underpin its growth and development across the island of Ireland and into the UK. It employs more than 400 people and produces 8.5m concrete products annually. Tobermore intends to double sales in the UK in the coming four years and sales this year are up 40% and continue to grow.

Aimee Connolly, founder and CEO of Sculpted By Aimee was named the 2021 EOY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. Upon graduating from university with first class honours, Connolly wanted to combine her degree and her love of makeup, which led to Sculpted By Aimee being born a year later, in 2016. Aimee also began teaching about makeup and later went on to found her own certified academy in 2017. Sculpted By Aimee has seen massive growth over the past 5 years, and are on track to accomplish revenues of €8 million in 2021. It has established itself as a leading cosmetics brand on the island of Ireland and further afield.

“I am delighted to officially celebrate the world-class group of entrepreneurs in this year’s programme, each of whom have demonstrated incredible perseverance, flexibility and adaptability, allowing them to thrive throughout a period of extended disruption and change,” said Roger Wallace, partner lead, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year.

“Despite the hurdles that 2021 has brought, our finalists have proved that entrepreneurs on the island of Ireland continue to innovate and compete at a world class level and we hope that their stories provide inspiration for new and established businesses alike,” he added.

Chaired by the 2006 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Anne Heraty, the judging panel included previous EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (overall and category) winners Michael Carey, Mark Roden, Evelyn O’Toole, Dr. Edmond Harty, Joe Hogan, Jerry Kennelly, Richard Kennedy, Harry Hughes and Denis O’Brien, as well as Jennifer Melia from Enterprise Ireland and Jeremy Fitch from Invest Northern Ireland.

Each year EY also presents a Special Award to individuals who have made a significant contribution to life on the island of Ireland through their vision, innovation and commitment to excellence. This year, the prestigious honour was awarded to Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who is now leading a global campaign to tackle the climate crisis we face.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ireland programme is supported by Premium Corporate Sponsor: Julius Baer International; Government Agency Partners: Enterprise Ireland and Invest NI; and Media Supporters: Newstalk and The Irish Times. The Gala Awards ceremony is available on RTÉ Player. The 2022 programme is open for nominations from January 2022. For further information, please visit



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