One of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs, Jerry Kennelly, was today presented with the TK Whitaker Award, the highest honour that the Irish Academy of Management (IAM) can bestow. Previous recipients include Denis Brosnan (2014), Margaret Downes (2015) and Dr Martin Naughton (2016).

The pre-eminent body for academics researching management and business in Ireland, the IAM, recognised Kennelly for “his significant contributions to business and the wider community of current and future entrepreneurs in Ireland and beyond”.
Raised on photography, design and publishing when born into his parents international wire photo agency business in Kerry, Jerry launched his first business Newsfax in 1981, a news and wirephoto business and transformed it into a digital pre-press centre for worldwide clients. In 1996, having seen the potential impact of digital imaging on publishing and the early web, Jerry launched Stockbyte, the first European royalty free stock photography business, one of the first three players in this burgeoning new industry. The company eventually operated directly with users throughout the world from its base at the Kerry Technology Park in Tralee as well as 130 partners in 70 countries before being sold to Getty Images for $135 million in 2006.

Despite having the potential to retire on the proceeds, Jerry’s entrepreneurial instincts drew him back into his next venture, Tweak – an online platform, which brings agency standard design, photography and copywriting to small businesses throughout the world. In 2016 the company launched a new software-as-a-service application to allow businesses edit and share its digital marketing assets efficiently, Tweak Cloud.

IAM Chair Prof. Margaret Linehan said,”Jerry Kennelly’s contribution to Irish life is not confined to the realm of business. He has collaborated the Press Photographers Association of Ireland in documenting the work of the charity GOAL’s work abroad and using those creative images to spread their messages through the media, exhibitions and calendars.

With his co-founders he set up Endeavour in 2009, a not-for-profit technology accelerator in Kerry and the 20 participating companies now have a value of in excess of €100m. Seeking to develop classroom participation in entrepreneurship, he and his team founded the Young Entrepreneur Programme in which 5,000 secondary and third level students learned about entrepreneurship and created business plans, meeting some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs face-to-face. However, Jerry and his team realised the real potential for scale lay in primary school, where they have concentrated their efforts since 2010 through the Junior

Entrepreneur Programme. To date, over 40,000 primary school children in every one of the 32 counties in Ireland have taken part. In 2017, the 13,000 pupils achieved combined sales of €320,000 and shared in the profits of €230,000. We are delighted to award Jerry Kennelly our highest honour, the TK Whitaker Award.”