Ralph Parkes is an entrepreneur with a 35 year track record of wealth creation, building businesses across hospitality, retail, property development, construction and private equity. He is currently focused on the management of the Parkes Family Office investments, which has extensive business interests in Ireland, the UK and Europe. Always focused on business opportunities that advances in technology create, he is a founding investor with Kernel Capital, a UK and Irish based VC and was a director of the firm from 2001 to 2009. He has held private equity co-investments with industry leaders, venture capitalists and institutional investors. In partnership with leading Irish and UK retailers plus banks he has led retail developments in excess of €300m.
Ralph is an Alumni of Cornell University 1980 and a 1979 graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management. Established in 1951, Shannon College of Hotel Management is one of the world’s leading hotel schools and now a college of the National University of Ireland. With a career ethos of lifelong learning, Ralph successfully completed the Chartered Director’s Program with the Institute of Chartered Directors (IOD) in 2016/17. Ralph is an advocate of community involvement and in 2014 he was appointed Chairman of the Leadership Council of the Special Olympics Games, Ireland. He has been a member of the University of Limerick Foundation Board since 2010 and was honoured as the 2008 Community Foundation of Ireland Philanthropist of the year. In 2016, the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin in France conferred Ralph as a Chevalier, a wine expert and ambassador, following 25 years success in the wine importation and retail industry.
In 2019 Ralph and wife Maureen established the IGNITE FUND, administered by the Social Innovation Fund Ireland which supports youth mental health space along with other challenging areas in society.
Ralph an avid supporter of Munster Rugby and honorary vice-president of UL Bohemians RFC. He lives in Limerick with his wife Maureen, they have three adult children.