Portwest’s Harry Hughes Is EY Entrepreneur Of The Year

26 Oct 2017 | 09.04 pm

Portwest’s Harry Hughes Is EY Entrepreneur Of The Year

Jack Teeling and Evelyn O'Toole also among the winners

26 Oct 2017 | 09.04 pm

Harry Hughes, one of the three Hughes brothers who own and run Portwest, has been selected as the overall winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 competition.

A recording of the awards ceremony is being televised on be3 on Monday October 30.

The Westport family business is a world leader in the design and manufacture of workwear. Turnover in the year to February 2016 was €103m and operating profit was €14.4m, an impressive margin of 13.7% for a clothing retailer. Net worth at year-end was €65m.

Postwest is run by a triumvirate of Hughes brothers, Cathal (66), Harry (64) and Owen (62), and it’s Harry who stepped forward to claim some long overdue recognition for this Mayo powerhouse. Three of their children are also directors of the business.

Portwest distributes its goods from bases in Ireland, the UK, Poland, Dubai, the US and Australia, while the company has factories in the Far East, and customer support staff in 100 countries. See brief summary of the Portwest story in video below, starting at 18.40.

Portwest won the International category award before claiming the top prize. The Emerging award was won by Jack Teeling, co-founder of Teeling Whiskey, and the Industry award went to Evelyn O’Toole, founder of Complete Laboratory Solutions.

O’Toole founded her laboratory testing business CLS in 1994, based in Ros Muc. The company carries out food testing for clients such as Supermacs and Topaz, with a fleet of vans collecting samples daily to check that the ready-to-go food is free of bugs. A second arm to the business is testing water, waste water and sea water, with a strong niche in testing water for hydrocarbon contamination.

More recently O’Toole (pictured above) established a second laboratory, CLS MedPharma, in Galway city to carry out analytical and microbiological testing for medical device and pharmaceutical firms. International clients are drawn from Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.

Operating company Saotharlann Chonamara Teo recorded an operating profit of €518,000 in 2015, up from €157,000 the year before. The staff count through 2015 was 97 people and the company’s year-end net worth was €2.4m.

Main Photo: Harry Hughes his wife Deirdre. ( Pix: Maxwell Photography)

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