Founder of IT Carlow spinout Microgen Biotech among the finalists for EY Entrepreneur of the Year


Institute of Technology Carlow offers its sincerest congratulations and best wishes to Dr Xuemai Germaine who is among the 24 finalists selected to compete in the 2021 EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition.

Dr Germaine is the founder and CEO of MicroGen BioTech, an IT Carlow spinout company that is to the forefront in a global mission to improve food safety, security and soil sustainability.

Established in 2012 and based at the IT Carlow campus, MicroGen Biotech applies constructed, functional microbiome technology to increase crop yield and health, while protecting food safety by remediating pollutants and improving soil fertility. Its proprietary microbiome technology blocks the uptake of heavy metals by crops on land that has been contaminated. Its products work directly on the soil to break down pollutants and support the growth of good bacteria to restore sites to fertile land.

The company, which has been largely focused on the Chinese market to date, has successfully registered two of its solutions with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and is now working with partners to roll out the solutions there. It also counts Europe and North America as key growth markets and is currently in negotiations with a number of growers and global food brands who are keen to reduce the level of heavy metals in foods.

Last year, MicroGen Biotech was selected from over 2,400 companies across 80 countries to win the Agtech food category, and the Female Founder Award, at the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) competition, following which Dr Germaine was invited to speak at a webinar to UN staff.

Now in its 24th year, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards programme works to recognise, promote and build a supportive community around Ireland’s high-growth entrepreneurs. Dr Germaine is among 24 finalists shortlisted from more than 120 nominations by an independent judging panel to compete across three categories – emerging, industry and international – with one overall winner to be selected in November as the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2021.

The shortlisted entrepreneurs represent a large number of sectors, including retail, consumer, technology, health and leisure. Collectively, their companies generate annual revenues in excess of €1.325 billion.

Last year’s overall winners was Nicola Mitchell, founder and chief executive of Irish agrochemicals company Life Scientific, a firm that makes generic versions of major branded agricultural pesticides and generates more than €60 million in annual revenues.

Other previous winners include Denis O’Brien, Padraig O’Ceidigh, Mark Roden, and Stripe founders John and Patrick Collison.

“This year’s finalists highlight the vibrant diversity of the entrepreneurial landscape across the island of Ireland, with sectors including technology, consumer, leisure and healthcare all represented, as well as our highest ever proportion of female finalists which is great to see,” said Roger Wallace, partner lead for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

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