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News : Innovation Last Updated: Jun 8, 2011 - 7:35 AM


Olivia Lum of Singapore is World Entrepreneur of the Year 2011; First woman to win in 11th year of Ernst & Young competition
By Finfacts Team
Jun 7, 2011 - 10:37 AM

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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 competition.

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 entrepreneurs."

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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