Judging panel

Sue O'Neill
Sue O'Neill Judging Panel chair and MD of Shellcove, Shellcove

Sue O’Neill was previously Chair of the SFA and Managing Director of Shellcove, an Association Management Company (AMC), which she founded in 2004.
Shellcove provides outsourced management services to companies and associations. Services include: strategy; marketing; business/membership development and event management as well as administration support.

Sue’s experience also extends to working with the academic sector in connecting both SMEs and multinational organisations to drive innovation and collaborative research. In addition, she advises and mentors start-up companies.

​Prior to Shellcove, Sue founded Generation in 1993, a creative agency offering advertising, design and marketing services across a broad spectrum of clients.

Managing Director of Shellcove, an Association Management Company (AMC), which founded in 2004. Sue holds an MBA from Dublin City University, a Diploma in both Digital Marketing and Print Management and is a Graduate of the IMI Business Development Programme. She has previously served as a committee member of the Institute of Business Analysis & Consulting. She has been a member of the Small Firms Association since 1993 and has served on the council since 2004.

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Geraldine Lavin
Geraldine Lavin Awards Judge, Emerging new business category

Geraldine Lavin is a director of 3rd i Ltd which she co-founded in 2005. She is a learning and education consultant providing programme design, delivery and evaluation services on topics such as training needs analysis, SME business development, innovation, customer experience management and strategy. Through combining a career in the third level sector while also working with businesses, Geraldine merges research-led critical thinking and academic rigor with a solid focus on practical application.

Geraldine has a keen interest in SME development and is particularly interested in contributing to the government’s SME policies and to increasing SME-relevant supports in funding, networking, training and learning. In 2018 Geraldine helped the SFA secure funding from Skillnet Ireland and she subsequently established the SFA Skillnet, a training network that delivered programmes to over 100 member companies in 2019. She serves as the SFA representative on the Dublin Regional Skills Forum and the Ibec nominee on the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment Development Group for the Revision of the Leaving Certificate Business Studies Curriculum. She is a member of the MentorsWork Steering Group. She has recently contributed to national SME policy as a member of the Clustering and Networks sub-group of the SME Taskforce and a consultant to the Leading the Way: Investing in Management Development for SME Productivity and Growth Report.

She has worked with a range of business support organisations including DCU Ryan Academy, Dublin LEO, SOLAS, and CUDA. She has also lectured and completed projects in a number of third level institutions, including UCD, DCU, TCD, Maynooth University, TU Dublin, the Institute of Banking, APMI (Hong Kong and Singapore) and CESUGA (Spain).

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Professor Frank Roche
Professor Frank Roche Awards Judge

Frank Roche was the Deputy Principal of the UCD College of Business and Law.

He holds the Berber Family Chair of Entrepreneurship at the UCD Michael Smurfit School of Business and was recently appointed the Director of Entrepreneurial Strategy for UCD.

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Brian O'Kane
Brian O'Kane Managing Director, Oak Tree Press

Brian O'Kane is Managing Director of Oak Tree Press, Ireland's leading business book publisher.

He is the author of many Irish business planning texts and lectures widely on business planning and strategy.

A chartered accountant, Brian was elected to the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in May 2007.

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Tom Cooney
Tom Cooney Professor of Entrepreneurship, Technological University Dublin

Tom is Professor of Entrepreneurship at Technological University Dublin and has published widely on the topic. He is an entrepreneurship policy advisor to governments, European Commission, OECD and other international organisations. He is also Director of four companies and a member or the Board of Skillnet Ireland.

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Mairead Cirillo
Mairead Cirillo Environmental Management Consultant

Mairead Cirillo is an Environmental Management Consultant and provides an advisory and support service on all aspects of environmental issues as they affect business in the industrial, commercial and services sectors.

With 20 years experience her roles have included trainer and facilitator, EMS lead assessor, Project and Programme Manager, Evaluator and Environmental Business Advisor.

She has worked in over fifteen countries including Bulgaria, Spain, India, Norway and New Zealand.

Her company, Environmental Business Advice was set up in 2002.

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Padraig Sheerin
Padraig Sheerin Head of SME, Three

adraig Sheerin is Head of SME at Three Ireland and has 22 years experience in the telecommunications and ICT industry having previously held roles in O2 and eircom. At Three he is responsible for all sales and relationship management across multiple channels. Padraig holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management from the Irish Management Institute.

Three Ireland is Ireland’s largest telecommunications provider and to date has invested close to €2billion building its business in Ireland. The company has over 1,400 employees throughout Ireland with its head office in Dublin and an award-winning contact centre in Limerick.

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Ken Germaine
Ken Germaine Awards Judge, Emerging New Business Category

Dr. Ken Germaine is a self-employed entrepreneur, management consultant, business advisor, trainer and mentor.

Ken helps entrepreneurs to assess the viability of and start their new ventures. This includes guiding the entrepreneur to clearly identify their market and competitive advantages which will allow the new venture to build their client base in a shorter time span than otherwise. He assists the entrepreneur to ensure that their business idea makes them money and achieve a rate of return on their investment. Ken runs a series of business planning programmes where participants actually write their business plans on the programme.

Ken Germaine is founder of Germaine Business Planning (www.germaine.eu.com) and is a fellow and past President of the Institute of Management Consultants and Advisers (IMCA, Ireland) and is a member of the Independent Advisers and Consultants Group (ICAG) within the Institute, of which Ken is a former Chairperson. He was Chief Executive Officer of the BASE Enterprise Centre, a nonprofit community-based enterprise centre and registered charity in Dublin Ireland for over 9 years up to February 2010.

Ken is an experienced trainer and has written several reports, evaluations and business plans for programmes, businesses and social enterprises. Ken holds a B.A. (Hons) in politics and economics, as well as, an M.A. in political science from University College Dublin (UCD) and a PhD from Trinity College Dublin on community-based social enterprises in Ireland within economic geography.

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