David Milne, the PhD physicist who led Scotland's most successful technology flotation in recent years, last night clinched the coveted award for Entrepreneur of the Year, one of the highest accolades in business.
The award was bestowed at a reception in Glasgow's Hilton Hotel by the Entrepreneurial Exchange, a networking body for Scotland's business creators and dealmakers. It was sponsored by The Herald, Price-WaterhouseCoopers and the Bank of Scotland.
The flotation of Wolfson Microelectronics on the main London exchange brought a rare cheer to Scotland's beleaguered hi-tech industry, illustrating that constant innovation is a key to profit. In the past year, the company has brought out 12 products, with a further 23 planned for 2004.
Milne, a 20-year veteran of the technology business, is managing director of Wolfson, which supplies silicon chips used in DVD players and digital cameras. It supplies many of the major names in the electronics industry, including Microsoft, Apple, and Sony.
Last week, its shares rose sharply, to more than 20% up on a 210p float price, on the back of strong demand for its products in the build-up to Christmas.
Milne was selected from a shortlist of three, beating Stuart Ross who led an MBO of and then successfully floated Belhaven brewery group, and John McGuire, of the Phoenix car company.
The Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Keith Neilson, of Livingston-based Craneware, which makes payment software for US hospitals. He beat Alan Revie of National Tyres and Simon Best of Ardana Bioscience.
The Entrepreneurial Exchange last night also inducted three more entrepreneurs into its hall of fame, which honours those who have made a telling contribution to Scotland's entrepreneurial spirit.
They were: Chris Gorman, executive chairman of the Gadget Shop; Walter Nimmo, chief executive of Inveresk Research; and Alasdair Locke, executive chairman of the Abbot Group.