THE man who masterminded the rapid growth of Alexander Dennis was judged to be Scotland's leading entrepreneur in a prestigious awards event last night.
Colin Robertson, chief executive of the Falkirk-based bus builder, was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the Entrepreneurial Exchange's annual awards in Glasgow.
The awards, in association with Deloitte and media partner The Herald, are Scotland's leading and longest-standing annual awards for entrepreneurs.
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Mr Robertson helped Alexander Dennis to enjoy remarkable growth in challenging conditions since he took charge in 2007.
Alexander Dennis has doubled turnover to £360 million and raised its market share at the same rate, to over 50%. Profits are set to rise significantly this year and next helped by the company's success in export markets.
Jim Boyle, head of entrepreneurial business at Deloitte, and an awards judge, said: "Colin has demonstrated fantastic entrepreneurial instinct in his ability to identify and capitalise on an opportunity in a tough economic climate. He has totally transformed the business and it is now a great example of a successful Scottish manufacturing business helping drive an export-led economic recovery."
Keith Wight, founder and chief executive of sensor design and manufacturing company SST Sensing, won the Emerging Entrepreneur award.
Judges applauded Mr Wight for spotting a gap in the market to move from selling third party devices into producing specialist sensors for manufacturers of advanced equipment.
The group's customer base rose six-fold to 450 in two years.
Mr Boyle said: "The most successful entrepreneurs know their market, identify a customer need that is not being met, and then fulfil it. Keith has done exactly that."
John Anderson, chief executive of the Entrepreneurial Exchange, said: "It is great to see yet more examples of successful entrepreneurs coming to the fore through the Exchange."
The awards were presented at a dinner at the Glasgow Hilton sponsored by Clydesdale Bank.
Alison McGregor, regional director, corporate and structured finance at Clydesdale Bank, commented: "In light of the Chancellor's statement earlier this week, it is clear that now, more than ever, Scotland needs its entrepreneurs to help to revive our economy."