The achievements of tycoon Maqbool Rasul have been recognised with a lifetime achievement gong at this year’s Scottish Asian Business Awards (SABA).
The retailing entrepreneur, who arrived in Scotland from Pakistan in 1964 and who over the years has built a business empire that included grocery shops, video rental chains and now a property and investment portfolio, received his award from Secretary of State for Scotland, Jim Murphy.
The event, at the Crown Plaza in Glasgow, turned the spotlight on the cream of the Scottish Asian business community. Guests included First Minister Alex Salmond and Shadow UK Communities Minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.
The Business of the Year Award went to Deepak Poddar’s Little Einstein’s nurseries chain, which now employs 250 people across seven sites.
Arshad Ali was named Businessman of the Year for building his Scottish Centre for Dental Excellence. The highly-regarded practitioner is the driving force behind the £3m operation in Govan which has been shortlisted for this year’s Private Dentistry Awards.
Businesswoman of the Year is Poonam Gupta, who started waste management company PG Paper in 2003 and has driven it to a £10m turnover in the face of an economic gale.
The Small Business of the Year Award went to Lets Direct, a property management firm which operates in the UK and the United Arab Emirates.
Still in the property industry, the husband-and-wife team of Bobby and Preet Sandhu scooped the Young Achievers of the Year award for their Happy Lets company, which manages a portfolio worth £60m and has ambitious expansion plans in the pipeline.
Alex Salmond presented the Entrepreneur of the Year Award to Yasmin Khanam of DPI Investments, which looks after overseas interests of high net worth clients.
The Franchisee of the Year Award went to Azeem Arshad of Baguette Express, who runs two outlets in Glasgow and who plans to expand operations into Northern England.
The Community Award went to Nari Kallyan Shangho, health and welfare organisation based in Edinburgh.
Something is cooking for a Glasgow family and an after-school care club in Glasgow after they both scooped £3000 first prizes in an Ikea competition.
Mother-of-five Anne Cannon, from Baillieston, and Barlanark Out-of-School Care Club were the big winners as Ikea launched their latest catalogue. Both winners made kitchens their priority when it comes to splashing out.
Entrants were asked to say in 50 words why they deserved to win the prizes in the UK-wide competition.
Barlanark childcare worker Donna Keown said: ‘When I got the phone call to say we’d won I was completely taken aback. This means we’ll be able to give the kitchen a makeover and get lots of new equipment and toys for the children.’
Barlanark Out-of-School Care Club has been running for 13 years and caters for up to 70 children from local primary and secondary schools.
Anne and husband John have been looking to upgrade their kitchen since 2005.
‘Our kitchen is beyond repair,’ said Anne. ‘It needs some tender loving care now. It has been looking fairly sad for some time. We’d like to use the kitchen as a place for all the family to gather and help prepare the meal and share in the chat.’
The Cannons had their kitchen plans well in hand when they visited Ikea Glasgow store manager Lars Wingren to collect their prize.
‘The judging panel had a tough job,’ said Lars, ‘But both recipients are worthy winners.’