Environmental awareness key to business success, says entrepreneur


24th February 2020

A paper magnate has warned budding entrepreneurs that ignoring environmental issues will relegate them to the margins of the business world.

Poonam Gupta, the founder of Greenock-based PG Paper, says that sustainability and accountability are an integral part of any modern business venture. She will be providing an inspirational insight into her career at this year’s University of Dundee Annual Public Lecture in Entrepreneurship on Wednesday 26 February.

“PG Paper is doing business in over 55 countries today, where the political, economic, social and technological environments are incredibly diverse,” she said.

“Common themes for the paper industry are sustainability, the circular economy and alternatives to plastic and you could perhaps say these are global issues for all sectors. For today’s entrepreneurs, whatever your business or business idea, you need to be sure of your purpose and ignore sustainability and accountability at your peril.”

Ms Gupta founded PG Paper in 2002 after struggling to find work after moving from India. Having done so with just a computer, phone and £1000, today her company has an annual turnover of £56 million.

Away from the boardroom, Ms Gupta is known for her philanthropic work, supporting women, underprivileged children, animal conservation and gender equality. She received an OBE for her services to business and charity in 2017.

Almost 20 years after starting her own company, Ms Gupta says that Scotland remains a fertile environment for new enterprise.

“Scotland has long been celebrated as a nation of innovators and the growth statistics for new businesses are impressive,” she added.

“We have a highly skilled workforce, support from Scottish universities to student spin-off firms, access to foreign markets, and a network of active investors looking for opportunities to support fledgling businesses and sectors.

“The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Scotland is thriving with organisations that can support, nurture and grow young innovative businesses.”

The Annual Public Lecture in Entrepreneurship is one of the highlights of the University’s annual Entrepreneurship Week, which runs from Monday 24 to Friday 28 February. Organised by the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, the event is now in its fourth year and includes a host of lectures and workshops for anybody interested in the world of enterprise.

The week will culminate in the final of this year’s Venture competition, where budding entrepreneurs from across the University community compete for funds from a £31,000 prize pot to start their own business.

The Annual Public Lecture in Entrepreneurship takes place at the University’s Dalhousie Building, Old Hawkhill, from 6-7.30pm on Wednesday 26 February. Tickets are free and are available online.

University of Dundee

Nobel Prize winning poet and honorary graduate Seamus Heaney has described the University of Dundee as ‘having its head in the clouds and its feet firmly on the ground.’ The ability to be both aspirational and down-to earth and to blend ground-breaking intellectual achievement with practical applications, has given the University its distinctive character.

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