Eight finalist schools from throughout Ireland pitch their business idea to the judging panel of high-profile figures from the world of enterprise and education at the annual Biz Factor competition next Thursday at the RDS. This week we are shining a spotlight on the judges who will be making the difficult decision of choosing the Biz factor 2016 winner. The judging panel includes:
- Gavin Duffy in an entrepreneur and one of the business mentors and investors on RTE’s Dragons’ Den. As a professional Communications Trainer, Gavin has been training senior executives and company CEO’s who have to face the media for over 25 years. A regular radio commentator on business and the economy, Gavin is an acknowledged expert in media coaching and business development. Gavin is widely known for his Dragon’s Den Investments but he presented RTE’s first ever business programme, Marketplace, in the 80′s and was a regular on the then fledgling Morning Ireland radio programme. He left RTE to become CEO of local radio station, LMFM.
- Charley Stoney is Group Managing Director at Alternatives, a company providing flexible talent solutions across the marketing, digital and executive disciplines. Her experience spans both the UK and Irish markets, the last 16 of which have been in leadership roles. Before joining Alternatives, Charley was managing director of FMI Ltd, Irelands’ leading field management and sales services business where she doubled the business over the six years of her tenure despite trading through the recession. Prior to FMI she pulled together the three separate divisions of McConnells Advertising below-the-line offering to form and head up McConnells Fusion. Before returning to Ireland in 2003, Charley held senior sales and marketing roles in a variety of sectors in the UK, including e-commerce, telecommunications, financial services and marketing services.
- Jordan Casey is a Waterford-based 16-year-old entrepreneur who set up Casey Games, an apps development firm that has had hits games such as Greenboy Touch, Alien Ball V Humans and Food World. Jordan is a self-taught programmer. He began aged nine by watching YouTube videos and reading books on programming. In February 2012, Jordan became of the Europe’s youngest iOS app developers when he released Alien Ball V Humans into the iTunes store. The game went to number one on the iTunes charts. As BizWorld Ireland ambassador, Jordan hopes to use his position to encourage other young people to learn to code and to set up their own business.
- John McKiernan is Head of External Collaboration at ESB, the Irish power utility. John is responsible for identifying new collaboration opportunities to unlock new revenue streams using innovative business models enabled by emerging technologies. John is a power sector investment specialist with over 20 years of international development experience. John was previously Partner at Greencoat Capital – the adviser to ESB’s €200m innovation investment fund. Prior to that, John has enjoyed a number of roles at ESB International including European Business Development Manager, Head of Gas and Power Trading for Northern Ireland and Asia Regional Manager based in Tokyo, Japan.
- Mairead Ni Mhaoilchiarain is a director and MD at IRISH TV. Trained as a journalist, she has worked across print, radio and television including RTE, The Irish Times, The Irish Echo, New York and Foinse. Prior to founding Irish TV, she was CEO of Gnó Mhaigh Eo, a new business development company that collaborated with private and public agencies to help businesses target a loyal audience with the aid of the Irish language.