Many 'firsts' at Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011:Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh honoured at being the first Asian Chairman of Judges Olivia Lum, first female Entrepreneur crowned at the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011
- By Alvin Goh
Olivia Lum of Singapore, Group CEO and President of Hyflux Limited was made this year's World Entrepreneur of the Year. Thanking her Lord Jesus Christ and various "angels" in her life, Ms Lum also wished that her award will encourage more women entrepreneurs to participate in the competition. But unbeknownst to her, she had become the first female winner of this award in its 25 years history.
Apart from Ms Lum, there was also another 'first' in this year's World Entrepreneur of the Year. Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh, Managing Director of YTL Group of Companies was the Chairman of Judges and the first Asian to preside over a judging panel that was made up of illustrious entrepreneurs from around the world.
Chairman of the Judges, Dr Yeoh gave a speech and actually congratulated all 49 entrepreneurs for championing business as a force for good. “The judges were genuinely impressed by how much these entrepreneurs are turning the world upside down! I wish we could clone every single one of them hundred times,” he said later.
"It is a very rare privilege for me to preside over the judging of the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year. I speak for my fellow judges, when I say that being a judge was never boring. In fact, it was one of the most productive things we have done in the short space of two days. We found ourselves enlightened, overwhelmed and inspired by 49 compelling stories. Entrepreneurs who make this world a much better place with their passion, vision and determination!"
Commenting on Ms Lum's success, Dr Yeoh emphasised that none of the judges knew that there had never been a female winner in the history of the award. There were various criteria in the judging process but they were fully geared towards finding the 'entrepreneur of entrepreneurs' - the Primus Inter Pares or 'First Among Equals'....