The Architects of Business is a bi-weekly podcast that dissects and discusses the inspirational stories behind Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs. Join Sonya Lennon as she speaks to the people behind the businesses as they tell their story. Available every second Sunday. Made in partnership with EY Entrepreneur of the Year.
"It doesn't get bigger than this for me" - Irish scientist wins EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020
We catch up with the founder of Life Scientific, Nicola Mitchell, the newly-crowned EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020!
She talks about the strong women and scientific background that has underpinned her success and led to her becoming the 2nd only female Irish entrepreneur of the year.
Camile Thai founder Brody Sweeney on losing one restaurant empire and building another
Brody Sweeney is the founder of the Camile Thai restaurant chain and is making big plans for his company's thriving home deliveries.
He told Sonya Lennon, host of The Architects of Business, made in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™, that trials to deliver Camile Thai food via drone in Oranmore, Co. Galway were going well and he expected to roll out nationwide usage "fairly soon".
He's working with another Irish entrepreneur, Bobby Healy, and his Manna Aero drone-delivery business, in the west to refine the delivery process for his food.
"We load the food into the drone, it takes off to 400 feet, flies directly to your house.
"When it gets to your house, it hovers over the square, sends you a text message, asking you are are you ready to receive it.
"You say, 'yes', the drone comes down to 40 feet and a little door opens underneath it and the food comes down on a string, which is biodegradable.
"The string then unravels from the drone and just falls down on top of the food, and the drone goes back up to 400 feet and it flies back to base.
"So it's extraordinary, it's working."
Listen to Brody (a 2001 finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ programme) explain how the thinks drones will become part and parcel of home delivery for all sorts of goods once the regulatory details have been sorted out.
What happened with gin in the public psyche?: Pat Rigney on Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin's global growth
Pat Rigney is the founder of The Shed Distillery, the creators of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin.
The drinks industry, like most other sectors, has been undergoing huge change since COVID changed our lives in March, with supermarkets focussing on what he describes as a smaller selection of 'winning brands' to stock their shelves.
Despite the challenges presented by the virus, Rigney has recently opened The Shed Distillery Visitor Experience in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim, the home of the gin.
He also recently released the first batch of Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish whiskey, the first whiskey distilled in Connacht for 101 years.
Rigney told Sonya Lennon, host of The Architects of Business, made in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™, that whilst gin has become more popular than ever with Irish consumers, the huge selection of gins available makes the business very competitive.
Sonya Lennon: What happened with gin in the public psyche? How come, one minute none of us were talking about gin, and the next minute, everybody was talking about it, and all of a sudden every bar had 15 gins on offer. How did that happen?
Pat Rigney: Gin is a very interesting way of having a really interesting experience and maybe trying a number of different brands.
What we're seeing now is that consumers are beginning to settle into a smaller selection of brands and staying with them...
I was in one retailer in Italy recently. Now, it was a speciality store and you had 620 gins. So how do you survive on that? So, we have massive competition. So there's local gins, regional gins, international gins, and everywhere you go there's intense competition.
"One holiday, done very well": Mary McKenna predicts big changes for Irish holidaymakers visiting US
Mary McKenna is the Founder and CEO of Irish travel company, Tour America.
She has witnessed her industry undergo seismic change since she closed the doors on her physical office on 18 March and moved all their business online.
She told Sonya Lennon, host of The Architects of Business, made in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™, about how she wrote off 2020 very early on but is now focussed on breaking even in 2021, before seeing a travel boom in 2022.
But one of her biggest fears for her business is who will be sitting in the White House next year.
"Sonya Lennon: I suppose we cannot not address the fact that the name of the company is Tour America. And America is in a very fragile state at the moment. Are you concerned about the political state and social state of the States at the moment?"
Mary McKenna: I am, I'm very concerned...
I think a lot of people think about him [Trump] as the leader and it makes them think about going to that country. I hate saying it because this is my business but that's a fact of the matter."
Billion dollar Irish gaming company expects $500M revenue in 2020 - this is how Andrew Day did it
Keywords Studios employs over 8,500 people in 61 studios across the world.
The Dublin-based gaming company creates, adapts, and supports some of the biggest video games in the world like Halo, Assassin’s Creed, and Fortnite.
CEO Andrew Day, who bought Keywords Studios with 50 staff in 2009, says that his company is heading into a period of exponential growth at a time when the industry, in general, is growing as more people are at home.
Day told Sonya Lennon, host of The Architects of Business, made in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™, about their projected figures;
"From where I sit today I don't think there's anything going to hold us back, other than ourselves, in getting to be about a $1billion in revenue in about five years' time.
I think we're quite close on a run-rate basis, or we will be exiting this year at around $500million, I hope."
He goes onto talk about the company's meteoric stock market valuation which recently passed a gigantic milestone having floated at $75million in 2013.
Listen to the full interview with the 2019 finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ programme below.
"End of the year is a best guess for a vaccine" - Philip Noone on the global race for COVID vaccine
Aalto Bio is amongst a number of companies working on a vaccine for COVID-19.
The Dublin-based biotech company researches and develops proteins and reagents that are provided to pharmaceutical companies that in turn develop diagnostic tests for viruses.
CEO of Aalto Bio, Philip Noone who has been working in the virus diagnostics space for twenty-five years, says his company has been working on the clinical trials with a couple of companies who are developing vaccines. They include the American pharma giant, Moderna.
Noone told Sonya Lennon, host of The Architects of Business, made in partnership with EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™, about the pace at which the vaccine development is happening:
"Moderna have done their phase two clinical trials. You do three phases of clinical trials before you bring the product to market.
"They're in their third phase and they're probably moving at a speed faster than anybody else.
"So, we've been working hand in hand with them, helping them with their clinical trials in order to get a vaccine on the market faster. "
He goes onto explain on the podcast why he thinks a vaccine will be available before the end of the year.
Fantastic Business Podcast!
Love this show, really enjoyabe listening to all the best business people in ireland and their stories of success!
Good guests but poor interviewing
Annoyed me how poor the questions were by Sonya. Didn’t even search the surface with some great guests. Disappointing.
Excellent show. All top level business people who’ve been there & sold the T-shirt. One of my morning commutes sorted! Please bring out more Joe & EY