Poonam Gupta OBE, CEO of Inverclyde-based PG Paper has been named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 Scotland overall winner.
Seven of Scotland’s most promising, pioneering and accomplished business leaders were recognised during an award ceremony at V&A Dundee, and will go forward to compete in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 UK final, taking place in London this November.
The EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 Scotland winners are:
- Overall Winner – Poonam Gupta OBE, CEO PG Paper
- Scale-up – Poonam Gupta OBE, CEO PG Paper
- Scale-up – Scott Coates, CEO Wireless Infrastructure Group
- Disruptor – Andrew Bissell, CEO Sunamp
- Societal Impact – Anderson Bakewell Founding Director, Simon Erlanger Managing Director and Ron MacEachran Chairman, Isle of Harris Distillers
- Sustained Excellence – Sandy Adam, Chairman Springfield Properties
- Transformational Leader – Craig Anderson, CEO The Scottish Salmon Company
- Transformational Leader – Jean-Christophe Granier, Joint Managing Director J&D Wilkie
Poonam Gupta triumphed as overall winner in a competition that saw 28 leaders of Scotland’s prominent businesses come together in the City of Discovery to celebrate entrepreneurial spirit.
Mike Timmins, EY Partner and leader of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme in Scotland, said: ‘Poonam’s entrepreneurial journey is a compelling story – having faced continued rejection when searching for work, she pulled on her entrepreneurial instincts and existing network to create PG Paper from her kitchen table with only £1,000 in capital.
“PG Paper’s growth to a £36m turnover company – with aspirations of reaching £100m in the next couple of years – wasn’t without challenges but Poonam’s resilient, determined business approach ultimately won her the accolade of Scotland’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year.
“All our winners and finalists have displayed excellence in their field and are role models of the exceptional entrepreneurial talent we have in Scotland – we celebrate each and every one of them. Great vision and strategy have been central to the success of these inspirational leaders, and despite the wider uncertainty in our local and global economy, Scotland’s business leaders have proven resilient, ambitious and determined. They are unstoppable, and long may we support that.”
The judges commented that Poonam’s non-complacent manner and attitude to continued learning was what truly stood out for them. They said: “The judging panel unanimously agreed Poonam is the embodiment of a true entrepreneur.
“Grit and determination have been threaded throughout Poonam’s career. Having overcome a personal illness with a rare auto-immune disease that left Poonam wheelchair bound for a year, she had the foresight to change direction of the business and adopt new technologies which allowed PG Paper to successfully enter international markets.”
Having moved to Scotland in 2002 after completing an MBA in International Business and Marketing, Poonam struggled to find work being over-qualified for most jobs but lacking UK experience. PG Paper started in 2003 from Poonam’s kitchen table with £1,000 in capital and some additional borrowings and support from Scottish Enterprise. Initially dealing with waste paper, the company evolved from preventing landfill to using material unfit for purpose. It now buys paper from some of the world’s biggest paper mills. PG Paper exports to 55 countries across the globe and now has offices in India and Turkey, and later this year will be opening in America and China.