Tuesday 18 September 2018

From revenues of €200k to €140m, meet the entrepreneur of the year

Winner of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Harry Hughes, CEO of Portwest and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald
Winner of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 Harry Hughes, CEO of Portwest and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Harry Hughes, head of Portwest, was yesterday named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2017.

Founded in 1904, specialist workwear designer and manufacturer Portwest employs over 2,000 people worldwide, and has sales in 110 countries.

The Co Mayo-based company, which Mr Hughes runs with his brothers Cathal and Owen, has driven revenues from nearly €200,000 in 1979 to over €140m in 2016.

The company’s collection of workwear, safety footwear and PPE protects people all over the world in numerous industries including oil and gas, welding, mining, agriculture, transport, chemical, construction, warehousing, and manufacturing.

As well as this, Portwest is a specialist in hazard protection including flame, electric arc, chemical, molten metal, heat, cold, and visibility.

Describing Mr Hughes as a "visionary leader" Anne Heraty, chairperson of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year judging panel said that Mr Hughes had built a world class business from his roots in Mayo.

"Harry personifies the entrepreneurial spirit and is a role model for any aspiring entrepreneur. The Judges were impressed with Harry’s clear thinking, his perseverance, commitment to his team, community and his humility," Ms Heraty said.

Following last night’s award ceremony, which was attended by over 1,500 business leaders from across Ireland, Mr Hughes will represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Monte Carlo in June next year, where he will compete with over 60 leading entrepreneurs from across the globe.

Other entrepreneurs whose achievements were recognised last night include Evelyn O’Toole, founder of Complete Lab Solutions, a contract laboratories provider of sampling and analysis for the food, environmental and life sciences industries.

Ms O’Toole was named EY Industry Entrepreneur of the Year.

While Jack Teeling picked up the award for Emerging EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Teeling Whiskey distillery was the first new distillery to open in Dublin for over 125 years and marked the revival of an industry long associated with his family and home town.

Online Editors

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business