Entrepreneur of the Year Award – The Irish version of the prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award has been running for the last 19 years. EY runs the awards in more than 60 countries, across 6 continents. Entrepreneurs across the country are invited to enter into the categories of: Emerging, Industry and International. The shortlisting process takes place in April every year following interviews and a judging process.
Mr Stephen Vernon is the winner of EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2016.
Mr Vernon is the director of Green REIT, property veteran and real estate investor and chairman of all the companies trading as Green Property since 2002. Earlier, he was the managing director of Green Property PLC, which grew its market capitalisation from €9 million in 1993 to €1 billion in 2002 under his leadership when he led a leveraged buyout of the company in a transaction worth €1.85 billion.
“I didn’t really expect to be in this or to win the category because while the entrepreneurial thing is there in real estate it’s perhaps not as obvious as in other industries,” said Mr Vernon.
“I’m delighted to have won the award, which is hugely important in terms of the branding of Green.
Green Property’s trophy asset, the Blanchardstown Centre, was recently sold to US investor Blackstone for about €950 million, which ended Mr Vernon’s 23-year association with the property.
Green REIT, which is led by Mr Vernon and Pat Gunne, was the first real estate investment trust listed in Ireland. It currently has a market capitalisation of close to €1 billion and owns more than €1.2 billion worth of commercial property with an annual rent roll of €65 million.
James Finch of Invest Northern Ireland, one of this year’s judges, said, “We selected Stephen because of his outstanding ability to read the market and identify significant business opportunities. He also displayed a distinct entrepreneurial spirit and adopted a strategic and innovative approach to secure his success”.
“His success is best illustrated in the performance of the business and the outstanding returns he has achieved.”