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Dave Tighe

Head of Innovation at Bank of Ireland

Dave has spent 17 years in Retail Banking in Ireland after graduating from Trinity College. David also holds an MBA from Manchester Business School.

He has extensive experience across digital banking, the payments industry and innovation in financial products. He has been responsible for Credit Card, Deposits and Current Account product strategies and has delivered multiple new retail products to the Irish market.

His recent role in Bank of Ireland looks at long term planning, consumer behaviour changes, market planning and incubation and the integration of fintech and innovative start-ups. He is responsible for Bank of Ireland workbench and Startlab initiatives and is a member of the Fintech Payments Association of Ireland.

Tom Early

Start Department Manager, Enterprise Ireland

Working within Enterprise Irelands High Potential Start-up (HPSU) Division, Tom leads the Start team which is responsible for ensuring that the next generation of HPSU companies are identified, funded and supported to achieve their international growth.  The team work closely with Start-ups to help refine their proposition and prepare them for external investment.   

Prior to working in HPSU, Tom worked as a strategic and financial adviser within the Growth Capital and Banking relationships team.  He has a strong track record in assisting clients from a wide variety of sectors at various stages in their lifecycle, in the development and implementation of their growth strategy, helping them to identify and secure the most appropriate form of finance necessary to achieve scale. 

Prior to joining Enterprise Ireland, Tom worked for over 9 years across multiple industries including telecoms, banking and consulting.  

Tom is a qualified CIMA Accountant, holds Masters of Business from the IMI and a degree in Business Studies (specialising in Economics & Finance) from Waterford Institute of Technology.  In addition Tom has completed executive training courses in IMD (Switzerland) and EVCA.  

Stephen Dillon

Founder, Startup Awards

Stephen founded Startups.ie in 2005 to be an entrepreneur driven resource for anyone looking to start a business in Ireland - Startups.ie is now Ireland's leading independent entrepreneurial resource. In 2011 he launched the National Startup Awards in partnership with Alchemy Event Management. He has also launched several other successful Startups including The Beer Club (Ireland's Leading online craft beer store) & 12th Abbey Irish Craft Beer. Stephen continues to be a passionate advocate for entrepreneurship in Ireland and advises Startups particularly in the food & drinks sectors

Fiona Collier

Business Banking Head of Customer Recruitment, Bank of Ireland 

Fiona joined the Bank of Ireland Group in 1999. In her current role as Business Banking Head of Customer Recruitment, she is a member of the Bank's Business Banking management team based in Dublin and has responsibility for managing and driving business performance and customer recruitment. Fiona's previous roles with Bank of Ireland include Regional Business Manager and Senior Relationship Manager in Leinster, where she lead a team of business bankers who provide relationship management services to the Bank's business clients in that area, and Relationship Manager in Leinster where she managed a portfolio of c 100 business customers across a varied mix of industries.

Fiona is a Qualified Financial Advisor and is currently studying toward an MSC in Business with UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. She is a member of Rotary International.


Hilary Coates

Head of Health Sector, Bank of Ireland

Hilary Coates joined Bank of Ireland in 2014 as Head of the Health Sector. In this role, Hilary is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the Bank’s strategy in this key business area.
Hilary has extensive senior clinical and executive national and international experience in the health and regulatory sectors. She originally qualified as a nurse from St Vincent’s University Hospital and worked in a variety of clinical and executive roles including Director of Nursing. Hilary has an MBA from Smurfit Business School and post graduate qualifications in Healthcare Management, Corporate Governance and Risk Management. Recent roles include Head of Healthcare Regulation in HIQA, Patient Safety Advisor to the World Health Organization and Academic Programme Director in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Email: hilary.coates@boi.com
Mobile: 087 2253314

Alison McGinley

Managing Director, Tax Assist

A passionate advocate for start-ups, Alison heads up TaxAssist, an accountancy network working with over 6,000 start-ups and SMEs across Ireland.
Prior to launching TaxAssist Accountants with her fellow directors in 2009, Alison held positions at Google and at an ad agency in Dublin. During this time Alison worked with a wide range of clients both in the UK and Ireland developing and implementing their marketing strategies. Having worked on Tax Assist’s brand launch, marketing strategy and operations for over 7 years, in 2016 Alison was appointed Managing Director of TaxAssist Accountants Ireland. Alison oversees the running of the network on a day to day basis and ensures the company continues to expand rapidly and service the ever changing needs of small business clients.

Donal O'Nuallain

IEDR , Head of Promotions, PR & Marketing

Donal joined the IEDR in 2010 having previously worked as a Product & Marketing Executive for educational software provider, ThirdForce. Donal enjoys all things marketing and runs the IEDR’s OPTIMISE Fund amongst other activities. Donal is a graduate of University College Dublin (BComm 2005) and the UCD Smurfit School of Business (MBS 2007).

Gene Murphy

Entrepreneur In Residence, Bank of Ireland 

Gene works on the Bank of Ireland innovation team as their Entrepreneur In Residence and works closely with startup support programs, early stage Fintech and also intrapreneurship internally at Bank of Ireland.

Previously he has worked in a range of companies as well as startups and is a fan of marketing, product development and seeing early stage ideas turn from MVP's to great products and companies.

Currently, he is working on the StartLab tech startup incubator and Workbench programs as well as working closely on startup community events such as Startup Weekend and pre-accelerator programs

Rory O'Malley

Partner, McCann FitzGerald

Rory advises on a broad range of corporate matters, including mergers & acquisitions, private equity, venture capital and joint ventures. Rory has a particular focus on M&A and equity fundraisings in the renewable sector and all forms of private equity and venture capital financing, from the funding of start-ups to the equity and debt financing of buyouts and all stages in between.


Regional Judges

Clive Aherne

Chartered Accountant & Business Adviser, Tax Assist Accountants 

Clive is a Chartered Accountant and business adviser with over 15 years experience. Clive is self-employed and owns and runs the Cork City TaxAssist office since 2010. This has grown from a standing start in 2010 and is expected to employ 10 by the end of 2017. Before this Clive was a senior manager with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Investment Management department and worked offshore, in the UK and Ireland dealing with investment funds, stock exchange listings and insurance. 

Clive’s focus is helping start-ups navigate the complicated road from idea to execution along with helping established businesses deal with red tape and compliance issues so they can focus on growing their business.

Clive has a broad experience in tax, accounting, business process design and audit.

In his downtime he is an avid runner who is chasing a sub 3 marathon. Clive is club secretary of Mallow AC which has grown in recent years to the largest adult club in County Cork.

Anthony Boyle

Co-Owner, Tax Assist Accountants 

Anthony Boyle, originally from Burtonport Co. Donegal is a Chartered Tax Advisor. He is co-owner of Tax Assist Accountants and The Glackin Business Institute Ltd providing Tax, Accounting, Banking, Business and Financial advice and services to SME’s in the Northwest. Anthony and his colleagues help clients manage their business and personal finances efficiently, minimise taxes, avail of available incentives, remain compliant, apply for funding, negotiate debts and become financially secure. Prior to starting his own business Anthony worked in various senior roles within Financial Engineering Network, Bank of Ireland Private Banking and Ulster Bank / RBS. He has a degree in Banking & Finance from the University of Ulster and is a Qualified Financial Advisor.

Pat Carroll

Startup Community Manager, Bank of Ireland

Working out of Workbench Limerick, where he encourages startups to utilise the hot-desking space.  He also supports the startup community throughout the Midwest region by facilitating events to help startups to learn and network. He works as part of the Innovation team, who are focused on companies of the future and  supporting entrepreneurs and startups to succeed and grow.  Two of the regular BOI sponsored which Pat organises are Startup Grind, a monthly networking event centred around a Fireside Chat with successful entrepreneurs, to help educate, inspire & connect Limerick's Startup ecosystem & Founder Friday, held every first Friday, where self-employed individuals network with their peers in a social setting.


Graham Clarke

Workbench Manager, Bank of Ireland

Graham Co-founded convenience baking brand Kooky Dough in 2009. The brand achieved listings with all the major retailers in Ireland, with the inclusion of Sainsbury, Waitrose and Ocado in the UK. After successfully running and selling the business in 2014, he has been involved in the development of new Irish brands Rebel Chilli and Cool Beans.

Clarke took up the position of Bank of Ireland Workbench Manager in November 2016 and now works closely with SME’s, Startups and the community in Galway from the coworking space in the city centre.


Seán Dowling 

Corporate Associate, McCann FitzGerald

Sean is an associate in the corporate department of premier Irish law firm, McCann FitzGerald, advising indigenous and multinational clients in a variety of industry sectors on the full range of corporate transactions and arrangements, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganisations, management buyouts/buyins, commercial contracts, capital reductions and share buy-backs.


Daniel Heaslip

Fintech Business Development, Bank of Ireland

Daniel has worked with the Bank of Ireland Group since 2008. Having previously worked for the Jurys hotel group. Daniel holds a BA in Politics and Business from Maynooth University. He has extensive experience across retail banking products, innovation and digital banking.  His current role looks at long-term planning, consumer behaviour planning, market planning and incubation and integration of fintech and innovative startups.


Ita O'Sullivan

Startup Community Manager, Bank of Ireland

As Startup Community Manager for Bank of Ireland in Cork, Ita aims to help Cork startups thrive. Ita achieves this through providing practical resources, like Workbench at 70 Patrick St and supporting a full calendar of events that are useful to the business and tech community. Ita, a qualified product manager, also offers startups 1:1 support on idea validation and business model canvas. Most recently this has led to an 8 week idea validation course run in conjunction with UCC Ignite.


Michael Sandys 

Business Owner, Tax Assist Accountants 

Michael is a Chartered Accountant and owner of the TaxAssist Franchise for Dublin South Central.

Having qualified many years ago he only went back in to practise in 2009 having previously started and owned several businesses in his career.

Michael also acted as Finance Director for several companies in the Hospitality sector.

TaxAssist specialises in helping small companies and in particular new start ups.