MANNY Stul of Melbourne-based toy company Moose Enterprise has become the first Australian to be named EY World Entrepreneur of the Year.
Stul was crowned the winner at an awards ceremony held in Monaco overnight, beating out 55 finalists from across 50 countries.
After establishing Skansen Giftware as a successful retailer which listed on the ASX in 1993, he purchased the fledgling toy company in 2000.
Sales have increased by 7200 per cent over the past 16 years, making Moose the fourth largest toy company in Australia and the sixth largest in the US based on sales.
Its range of toys including Shopkins, Little Live Pets, The Ugglys and Squishy Sand are sold in more than 80 countries. Shopkins was named Girl Toy of the Year at the Toy Industry Association's Toy of the Year Awards in the US last year.
Moose Enterprise chairman and co-CEO Stul says the award was an honour for the team behind the company as well as Australia.
"I was up against an amazing group of entrepreneurs and have been inspired by their stories," Stul says.
"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."
Stul has been lauded for steering Moose back from the brink of closure following an international product recall for Bindeez in 2007.
The craft kit features beads that can be fused together using water to create a range of designs, but was found to contain a harmful chemical after several children ingested the beads.
The company overcame legal battles, creditors and product bans to safely release the toy as Beados in Australia the following year.
Just Energy Group founder and chair of the World Entrepreneur of the Year judging panel Rebecca MacDonald says the decision to award Moose the title was unanimous.
"Manny was our choice, not only due to his impressive growth, but also because the business he has nurtured has shown sustained global success," MacDonald says.
"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."
Stul owns the company with wife and Moose director Jacqui Tobias and step-son Paul Solomon as co-CEO.
Get our daily business news
Sign up to our free email news updates.