POONAM GUPTA O.B.E.
Chief Executive PG Paper
Poonam Gupta's journey to creating a successful international paper company began when she arrived in Scotland in 2002.
“I had an MBA in international business, but no one would employ me because I had no experience”
Instead, she started her own business from her kitchen in Kilmacolm trading redundant waste materials, discovering that there is always a market for goods when you buy at the right price - the fundamental pillar of PG Paper's subsequent success.
Now she is one of the most recognised entrepreneurs in the UK and beyond, committed to further building PG Paper worldwide, expanding into new fields of business but also passing on her knowledge and experience to a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Her portfolio of companies continues to diversify, operating in over 60 countries, with offices across the globe.
With a career-long interest in strengthening and enabling greater collaboration between Scotland and India; Poonam led a successful Scottish Chambers Task Force to India in 2019. She has been recognised as one of the ‘100 Most Influential in UK-India Relations’ by India Inc Group. Poonam is currently Chair of the UK India Manufacturing Council, FICCI, the largest and oldest apex business organisation in India.
Sacha Jafri Painting of Virat Kohli
Poonam Gupta made headlines in 2017 when she bought a painting depicting Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli's participation in the Indian Premier League (IPL) by the British-born painter Sacha Jafri.
Poonam is a keen art collector and the painting was one of her most expensive art purchases so far. Importantly however, it was secured at a charity event raising funds for the Virat Kohli Foundation to tackle human trafficking, a cause close to Poonam's heart.
The combination of cricket, for which there is enormous enthusiasm in India, and philanthropy generated massive media interest for months afterwards with coverage in The Times of India, The India Times, Indian Express, The Huffington Post, News 18, and the Business Standard amongst others.
Poonam Gupta believes that with success comes social responsibility and charitable work runs like a seam throughout her life and work.
Poonam led PG Paper’s India Covid Appeal providing much-needed oxygen concentrators throughout India during the country’s deadly second Covid wave, helping an estimated 10,000 hospital patients across the country. Poonam and her team sourced over 3,000 oxygen concentrators, delivering and distributing them to NGOs, hospitals, and Covid centres around India in a concerted effort to meet the country’s urgent need for oxygen. Her appeal generated significant press interest with coverage in The Herald, The CBI, The Greenock Telegraph, and The HindiWay. Read more about Poonam’s India Covid Appeal here.
Before Covid, on her frequent business visits to India she always takes time to visit humanitarian projects, particularly the schools and orphanages she and her husband Puneet support.
Poonam is a benefactor of many local, national and international charities; with a particular focus on woman-centric issues, disadvantaged children, gender equality and animal conservation.
Poonam’s entrepreneurial and business efforts have also been acknowledged by her peer group and the industry at large; for which she has received several business awards; most recently Ernst & Young’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2019. She is a member of the Scotland judging panel for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK 2021 and the NatWest 2021 everywoman Awards. In recognition for her services to charity and business, she was awarded the OBE in 2016.