THE boss of a fast-growing Durham science company aiming to help catch terrorists was honoured at one of the UK's top business award ceremony's last night.
Kromek chief executive Arnab Basu was named Ernst & Young Young Entrepreneur Of The Year at the awards ceremony held at London’s Park Lane Hilton Hotel, which was sponsored by the CBI and hosted by Joanna Lumley.
Spun-out of the physics department at Durham University, Kromek pioneers X-ray imaging for the medical, security, industrial inspection and defence markets.
The company has developed a colour -ray machine that can tell the difference between vodka or water in a bottle and a clear chemical explosive disguised as a drink. It is currently being tried out at airports in Europe.
If successful, the machines could see the end of restrictions imposed by the EU after Muslim extremists were caught planning to kill up to 10,000 people in simultaneous explosions on planes using liquid bomb materials.
Ernst & Young Newcastle’s senior partner Mark Hatton, said: “Arnab Basu is a great leader and manager, a supreme innovator with great vision.
“He has developed ground-breaking, unique technology for an existing market set to boom. The judges were unanimously impressed with the product, which has multiple applications.
“Arnab possesses a rare combination of intuitive commercial sense, pioneering technical expertise and a flair for motivating others.”
Since taking the plunge to commercialise Kromek in 2003, Arnab has grown the from a two-man operation with a value of £0.5m to a £48m business comprising of 42 highly skilled employees.
The event was attended by 51 business leaders from 45 fast growth companies including fellow North East finalists: Graeme Lowdon, CEO of Nomad Digital Limited; Greg Phillips, MD of North East Bakery Limited; Neil Stephenson, CEO of Onyx Group Limited; Ian Edge, MD of Quantum Specials; and Steve Nelson and Richard Vertigan of 4 Projects Limited.
Michael Spencer, chief executive of interdealer broker ICAP plc, claimed Ernst & Young UK Overall Entrepreneur Of The Year and will now go on to compete globally with more than 40 other country winners at Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Monte Carlo in May 2010.