Elizabeth Fournier
FRIDAY night saw big hitters from London’s Asian community come together for the Asian Business Awards, which celebrated the UK’s most successful Asian entrepreneurs and their business success stories with dinner and a discussion forum at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

The top award of the night – for Asian business of the year – went to telecoms operator Lebara, which allows low-cost international calls to be made direct from mobile phones. Chief executive Yoganathan Ratheesan picked up his company’s award from business secretary Vince Cable.

Also honoured at the annual event were ex-steel magnate and City restaurateur Dinu Bhattessa, the owner of the Mint Leaf lounges and winner of this year’s Asian Business Restaurant of the Year.

The night also saw the launch of the 2011 Asian Rich List, put together by the Asian Media and Marketing Group, which provided a fascinating insight into the contribution that Asian businesses make to the UK economy. The list was unsurprisingly topped by steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, who runs the ArcelorMittal empire from his Berkeley Square offices and is estimated to be worth more than £15bn.

Second on the list was the Hinduja family, whose diverse business interests range from wealth management to energy and defence. Gopi Hinduja – joint owner of the family group alongside brother Sri – attended Friday’s award ceremony, and gave attendees an insight into his success on an after-dinner panel discussion alongside Arora hotels founder Surinder Arora and former Priory Group chief Dr Chai Patel.