First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The continued success of our Asian community enriches Scotland as a whole and the achievements of our Asian businessmen and women make an outstanding contribution to the strength of our economy.
“As a veteran of this event, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to pay tribute to these worthy winners. I am sure that the example set by these innovators will continue to influence and inspire people across the country to follow in their footsteps.”
Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy said: “Everywhere I go in Scotland I see members of the Asian community running both large and small businesses, and always looking ahead to the next opportunity. Despite the recent challenging economic conditions they are still full of enthusiasm and ideas.
“It is this forward thinking approach to business that has helped build a solid foundation for their communities to thrive and to contribute to the wider community in which they live.”
Mr Blake Brad, Founder of ChemistOnline.co.uk said: “It is an honour to meet the business men and women that attended the ChemistOnline.co.uk 2009 Scottish Asian Business Awards and hear the fantastic achievements across the board from the Young Achievers of the Year, through to the Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and the Entrepreneur of the Year.
“It is incredibly humbling to be confronted with such a wealth of accomplishments – I would like to congratulate all the nominees and all the winners. They have certainly affirmed that the business of being an entrepreneur is a road I will continue to travel, relishing all the ups and downs along the way. ChemistOnline.co.uk is proud to be the title sponsor of this year’s Awards and privileged to sponsor the Entrepreneur of the Year Award presented by the First Minsiter Alex Salmond.”
Irfan Younis, Founding Director of the Oceanic Group said: “Despite the recent economic downturn the Scottish Asian Business Community continues to thrive, driving forward and innovating. We evolve to not only survive the recession but with our future successes in mind.
“With the increased, and continued, support from both the Government and financial institutions I don’t doubt that the Asian Business Community will continue to achieve success disproportionate to our community’s size. We have had a fantastic year, the extent to which became clearly apparent over the course of the Awards.”
The Winners of the Chemistry Online SABA 2009:
Young Achiever(s) of the Year: Bobby & Preet Sandhu (Happy Lets), presented by Navjot Singh, Global HR Communications Manager for Shell.
Bobby & Preet Sandhu (Happy Lets). Husband-and-wife (27 and 26 respectively) team, Bobby and Preet, manage a £60million property portfolio across Glasgow and Lanarkshire and are currently embarking on an expansion drive to increase their portfolio from 800 to 5000 properties within five years.
Small Business of the Year: Lets Direct, presented by Geoff Leask, Head of Operations, for PSYBT.
Lets Direct established in 1989 is one of Glasgow’s oldest and largest professional Property Management Firms. Multinational teams in the UK and the UAE ensure the process of letting property is dealt with promptly effectively and professionally
Franchisee of the Year: Baguette Express – Azeem, presented by Hans Director of Goldstar Chefs.
Azeem Arshad – Baguette Express. Azeem, 23, has two Baguette Express outlets in Glasgow with a number in the pipeline. Over the summer of 2009 he completed a deal to become the Master Franchisee for Baguette Express in the North East England
Business of the Year: Little Einstein’s – Deepak, presented by Senior Partner at Clydesdale, Andrena Murdoch.
Little Einstein’s – Deepak Poddar. Little Einstein’s nurseries are in the top five chains in Scotland, providing care for over 750 children per day, with 7 sites throughout Scotland. The group now employs more than 250 people across Scotland and has a turnover in excess of £5m.
Community Award: Nari Kallyan Shangho, presented by Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton of Strathclyde Police.
Nari Kallyan Shangho (NKS) is a health and welfare organisation, established in 1987, that works to improve the health and well-being of South Asian women and children living in Edinburgh.
Businesswoman of the Year: Poonam Gupta (PG PAPER), presented by MD of I.A Contracts Iftikar Chaudhary
Poonam Gupta (PG PAPER). In 2003 Poonam started PG Paper Company Ltd. PG Paper actively seeks solutions to industrial waste problems and has secured many business partnerships around the world. In 2008-09, turnover almost doubled to more than £10 million, despite the challenging economic conditions; turnover is expected to grow a further 50% in the next two years.
Businessman of the Year: Arshad Ali (Scottish Centre for Excellence in Dentistry), presented on behalf of IOD, by Jim Shaw Senior partner from Clydesdale Bank
Arshad Ali (Scottish Centre for Excellence in Dentistry). The Scottish Centre for Excellence was unveiled in April 2009. The £3m, 7240 sq ft surgery has been shortlisted in the prestigious Private Dentistry Awards held in London for two categories. The practice has 37 members of staff and had a turnover of £2.8m in the last financial year.
Lifetime Achievement: Mr Maqbool Rasul presented by Secretary of State for Scotland, Jim Murphy
Mr Rasul arrived in the UK from his home town of Jagrawan Faisalabad in Pakistan in 1964 and gained a university degree in Civil Engineering with Honours from Paisley College of Technology (now known as the University of West of Scotland) in 1976.
After working in the engineering field for 2 months Rasul realised that it wasn’t for him
and started his own business opening grocery shops.
The shops proved successful and being the entrepreneur that he is Mr Rasul decided to dedicate part of these stores to movie rental. By 1987 Mr Rasul seized the opportunity and sold his grocery stores and concentrated solely on Global Video. Through his hard work and dedication the business went from strength to strength and at its peak Rasul had 268 stores employing over 1400 staff throughout Scotland, England and Wales.
Mr Rasul knew that there was a finite period of time for the movie rental market and concentrated all his efforts in being as successful as possible with Global Video as well as preparing for the future. Rasul and his family now own and manage a very large and diverse portfolio of properties in prime locations in the UK and abroad along with many other personal investments in other sectors.
Even after his massive success which included being in the UK’s top 100 Entrepreneurs list, Mr Rasul holds his community close to his heart and is no stranger to charity work. He generously donated towards the building of Glasgow Central Mosque where he is presently a Trustee and was integral in building the mosques community hall. He is/has been also largely involved in various charities such as the U-Care Foundation and EMEC (Ethnic Minority Enterprise Centre). The Rasul Charitable Trust was also set up in 1995 which generously donates to various charities and good causes’ world wide.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Yasmin Khanam, sponsored by ChemistOnline.co.uk and presented by First Minister Alex Salmond
Yasmin Khanam – DPI Investments. Five years ago, Yasmin started DPI Investments, which provides high net worth clients with a start-to-finish service with their overseas investments. DPI offers a vehicle that allows individual investors to have a guaranteed exit strategy when investing in larger products in the UAE or other desired areas.