Matt Brittonmatt.email@example.com @dgldemocrat
Donegal business woman Ramona Nicholas joint CEO of the Cara Group has been nominated as Entrepreneur of the year by the international accountancy and consultancy group Ernst and Young (EY)
The shortlist of 24 finalists in the 2017 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme was revealed yesterday and represents entrepreneurial businesses right across the island of Ireland in a range of sectors including technology, healthcare and retail.
The nominated finalists, who have been selected in the three categories of Emerging, Industry and International following a rigorous and independent judging process, have a combined workforce of over 5,000 people and turnover of more than €475 million.
Ramona Nicholas of Cara Pharmacy who are based in their headquarters in Ballyshannon is the joint CEO of the group with her husband Canice.
She is also well known for her appearance on “Secret Millionaire” and also on Dragon's Den.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat yesterday afternoon Ramona said that she felt “privileged” to be included in such a group of high achievers.”
She said, “I am absolutely honoured and to be honest, delighted. This is not just a nomination for Ramona Nicholas - this is for everyone in the team of Cara. They have all given us so much support in developing the brand into a national name.
Continuing she said, “This has been a very rigorous process and involves every aspect of the company - Ernst and Young examine everything including business strategy, marketing, compliance and financial and on top of that, a very comprehensive interview.
“To get through all this you need a very dedicated team working with you and in a way I just describe myself as the voice of a good innovative and hard working organisation.”
The Cara Group employs up on 180 persons in its 15 stores, online operation and head office and has plans for further expansion.
Ramona told the Democrat, “It is no secret that we are on the lookout for some strategic locations throughout the country and that would include Dublin.
“I suppose when you invest heavily in building a national brand, it is important that you maximise the return.
“We are obviously delighted that our business model is working - there are times when you have to go with your gut instinct. Thankfully most have worked for us.
“Over the years the pharmacy industry has evolved and most retail outlets now combine beauty and skin products while also providing efficient health care.Both aspects of the business require a lote of care and diligence.”
Concluding she said, “I live by a quote that I read in an article on the famous Walt Disney which said, “Remember it all started with a mouse” So if you have an idea go out there and go for it.”