EY says a growth in employment is expected to continue through 2018
A new survey has found 57% of Irish entrepreneurs say recruiting experienced staff has been the biggest challenge in the last year.
The annual EY survey was conducted amongst 130 entrepreneurs across the island of Ireland, who are all previous finalists in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year.
EY says its Entrepreneur Of The Year Alumni Network now employs 241,744 people directly - an increase of 59% since 2013.
This equates to almost 90,000 employees.
EY says this growth in employment is expected to continue through 2018 "as business confidence increases."
In 2017, 79% of its alumni increased the headcount in their companies - while 84% plan to do so in 2018.
EY says: "This jobs growth can be partially attributed to the strong financial performance of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Alumni Network, who reported a combined revenue of €18.8bn in 2017, an increase of €2.2bn since 2013."
Commenting on the research findings partner lead of EY Entrepreneur of the Year Ireland, Kevin McLoughlin, said: "The Irish economy has made great strides in the last few years.
"We are particularly proud that the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Alumni Network is creating so much employment and creating opportunities for people, not just in cities but in rural parts of Ireland.
"While the economy has improved, entrepreneurs always face risks and impediments to growing their businesses.
"Recruiting the right talent is something that stood out as a challenge for companies over the last 12 months.
"With 84% of the businesses surveyed planning on increasing their headcount over the next 12 months, it is highly unlikely that this problem will go away."
The research shows that of the 16% of entrepreneurs who have exited the original business they were involved in, 90% have reinvested in another business.
EY says this shows there is "an appetite" to continue to create employment and drive the Irish economy forward.