Manny Stul, Chairman and co-CEO of Australian toy company Moose Enterprise, has been named ‘EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year’. Stul, who received the award on Saturday evening at an awards ceremony held in the mondain city of Monaco, was picked from among the 55 country winners from 50 countries vying for the title.
Since 1986 accounting and consulting giant EY organises the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Awards’, a competition that encourages entrepreneurship. What started as a single award in Milwaukee, the United States, has today grown into one of the globe’s largest contests that recognises management and entrepreneurial excellence. The 2016 edition of the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Awards’ was held in more than 60 countries, with all country winners invited to participate in the annual EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
The global edition of the award ceremony took place this weekend in Monaco’s Salle des Etoiles, one of the most luxurious event locations in the Côte d'Azur, where an independent judging panel composed of several distinguished business leaders and previous award recipients reviewed the entries of all country winners. Australia’s Manny Stul came out on top as the competition’s winner, for the incredible transformation and business success he has achieved at the helm of Moose, a Melbourne-based toy company.
Stul’s first foray into the world of entrepreneurship was in 1974. The child of Polish refugee parents, Stul worked in construction in northwest Australia before starting his first business, a gift company called Skansen. Innovating and changing constantly to adapt to the market’s requirements, he expanded Skansen into one of the biggest gift companies in Australia and listed it on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1993. “I had no guidance from mentors and entered the business space with no experience,” he recalled. “Every decision and opportunity helped shape my skills and showed me in practical terms how to run a successful business.”
In 2000 he took over Moose, then an Australian toy company with 10 employees. In his 16 years running Moose, Stul increased sales by 7,200% and built a global business that is now the fourth largest toy company in Australia and, by sales, the sixth-largest in the US. Moose sells its toys, including the well-known Shopkins characters and Little Live Pets, in more than 80 countries.
During his reign, Stul however faced several difficult periods, including a large scale product recall in 2007 that had the potential to take the toy manufacturer into bankruptcy. “Everyone said it was impossible to survive the recall, yet we pulled through,” Stul stated. “Although faced with huge reputational and financial challenges, I refused to be distracted, and over a 12-week period negotiated agreements with local and international governments and trading partners, allowing the business to survive and thrive.”
Rebecca MacDonald, Chair of the World Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel, says that Stul was awarded the prize not only due to his impressive growth, but also because the business he has nurtured has “shown sustained global success.” She adds: “All of our finalists were worthy winners and demonstrated so many qualities that we were looking for, however, it was Manny who impressed us most across our diverse judging criteria.”
Reflecting on the recognition, Stul says he is “honoured and delighted to receive this prestigious award”, for himself, Moose, the firm’s employees and Australia. “We are a company that succeeds by focusing on innovation with integrity and a clear purpose to make children happy. This has allowed us to grow exponentially, while overcoming huge challenges.”
Mark Weinberger, EY’s Global Chairman and CEO, remarks “Moose Enterprise has a very clear purpose at its heart that has guided the company’s outstanding growth. It’s the ability to combine this purpose with innovation, integrity, determination and grit that makes Manny a truly worthy EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner.”
Last year the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award went to Syrian-origin Mohed Altrad, founder and CEO of Altrad Group.