Portwest chief up for EY World Entrepreneur of the Year award

Harry Hughes of the Westport-based safety firm is in the running for prestigious prize

The red carpet will be rolled out to more than 50 of the most successful business leaders this week in Monaco as the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year award commences.

Harry Hughes, chief executive of Portwest, which has its headquarters in Co Mayo, will be among those battling it out at the awards ceremony at the Salle des Eoiles on Saturday to be named EY World Entrepreneur of the Year.

Portwest, founded in Westport in 1904, is one of the world's fastest-growing safety companies, manufacturing and distributing safety products in 120 countries. The group has achieved 20 per cent compound growth every single year for the past 40 years.

It has about 3,000 staff and will reach 5,000 within 12 months. It is also targeting €1 billion turnover and over 10,000 jobs in developing countries within seven years.


In addition to Portwest, other companies represented among the 2018 finalists include: Canada's Optel Group (Canada), Estonia's Taxify, Hungary's Wizz Air, the UK's Octopus Group and US group Tesaro.

Leading innovators

The event, now in its 18th year, honours the leading innovators behind ground-breaking products and services in more than 145 cities in over 50 countries.

The overall winner is chosen by an independent judging panel, with the award given on the basis of a number of factors including entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance and innovation.

Keynote speakers include Jeremy Gutsche, chief executive of TrendHunter.com; Peggy Johnson, executive vice president and business development at Microsoft; and Australian model and businesswoman Elle Macpherson.

Last year's winner was Canadian Murad Al-Katib, chief executive of AGT Food and Ingredients, a company that supplies around a quarter of the world's lentils.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist