Olivia Lum, Group CEO and president of Hyflux
Limited, from Singapore, was named the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the
year 2011 on Sunday, at an awards ceremony held in Monte Carlo's Salle des
Etoiles. She was the first woman to win the award in 11th year of the
Lum was picked from among
the 49 country finalists vying for the title, each of whom had already been named the Ernst &
Young Entrepreneur of the Year in their home countries. This year saw more
female finalists - six in total - than ever before.
Brian Conlon, CEO of Newry-based software firm,
First Derivatives, represented Ireland.
Olivia Lum founded
Hyflux in 1989
with two staff and start-up capital of $US15,000. Today, Hyflux has become one
of the world's leading desalination suppliers. It is publicly traded with
revenues of US$450m, employing more than 2,300 people in operations and projects
in Southeast Asia, China, India, the Middle East and North Africa.
Tan Sri Francis Yeoh Sock Ping, managing
director of Malaysia's YTL group of companies and chairman of the judging panel said,
"Olivia's entrepreneurial spirit and the immense social and health benefits her
work brings make her an exceptional winner of the award."
"I'm very happy to accept this award on
behalf of all the employees at Hyflux. For me, this reinforces there are no
difficulties you can't overcome when you have faced the challenges of hunger and
poverty," said Olivia Lum.
"It is a great honour to have been selected from among such a fantastic group of
Olivia Lum added: "A successful journey
is not one that is taken alone. I am thankful for the many 'angels' along the
way who supported and guided me.
"I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of
all my board members and all my staff. Without their support, hard work and
belief in Hyflux, I would not have been able to achieve this success. I share
this award with them."
She also hoped that her win would inspire more women
entrepreneurs to participate in the annual competition, saying: "Until then,
I will hold on to the title of 'The Prettiest World Entrepreneur of the Year.'"
"As the first female World Entrepreneur
of the Year, Olivia is a wonderful role model for entrepreneurs and for women
across Asia and the world. This can only accelerate the growing global trend of
more and more women building great businesses," said
Maria Pinelli, Ernst & Young's global vice chair for Strategic Growth Markets.
Jim Turley, global chairman and CEO of Ernst &
Young said, "This year marks a quarter of a century since the very first
Entrepreneur Of The Year award, which took place in a single US city in 1986.
Over the past 25 years, entrepreneurs have done more than any other group to
stimulate innovation, job creation and prosperity during both periods of growth
and in challenging economic conditions. Olivia demonstrates the vision and
determination that set entrepreneurs apart and is very worthy of the title Ernst
& Young World Entrepreneur of the Year 2011."
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