An Australian toy maker has been named World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016

Manny Stul. Image: Supplied

Manny Stul, whose Moose Enterprise in Melbourne created the globally-popular Shopkins toys, is the world’s best entrepreneur.

At a ceremony in Monaco at the weekend, the Australian was announced as the 2016 EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year from a field of 55 country winners.

Stul took over Moose in 2000, then an Australian toy company with 10 employees, having already founded and built Skansen Giftware, which listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1993.

In his 16 years running Moose, he has increased sales by 7,200% and built a global business which is now the fourth largest toy company in Australia and the sixth-largest in the US by sales.

Shopkins. Image: Supplied

Stul said he was honoured and delighted.

“I was up against an amazing group of entrepreneurs and have been inspired by their stories,” he said.

“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. I’d like to thank EY on behalf of all the entrepreneurs who competed this week.”

Rebecca MacDonald, chair of the World Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel, said the unanimous decision was reached after long and tough deliberations.

“Manny was our choice, not only due to his impressive growth, but also because the business he has nurtured has shown sustained global success,” she said.

“His mettle was tested when Moose faced a product recall that would have overcome less resilient and well-managed businesses. All of our finalists were worthy winners and demonstrated so many qualities that we were looking for, including an ability to respond to disruption. However, it was Manny who impressed us most across our diverse judging criteria.”

Moose went through a rough time in 2007 after a product recall.

“Everyone said it was impossible to survive the recall, yet we pulled through,” Manny said. “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.”

Moose sells its toys, including the well-known Shopkins characters and Little Live Pets, in more than 80 countries.

Stul was the 2015 Australian EY Entrepreneur Of The Year.

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