A leading businesswoman and a prominent venture capital investor have been named the University of Strathclyde’s Alumni of the Year.
Baroness Nosheena Mobarik, joint Chief Executive of M Computer Technologies, received the Alumna of the Year Award and Calum Paterson, Managing Partner of Scottish Equity Partners (SEP), was named Alumnus of the Year.
The awards were presented during a graduation ceremony at Strathclyde’s Barony Hall on Thursday 29 June. They are made annually in celebration of the contributions which the University's alumni make in their chosen fields, in the UK and overseas.
Baroness Mobarik gained a BA in Economic and Social History from Strathclyde and, in 1997, founded M Computer Technologies with her husband, Dr Iqbal Mobarik, who is also an alumnus of the University. The company develops and implements business management solutions for the retail sector.
Baroness Mobarik has been a member of the Council of CBI (Confederation Business and Industry) Scotland since 2001, also serving as CBI Chair from 2011-13 and Vice-Chair from 2013-14.
She is the founder and Convener of the Scotland Pakistan network, which aims to facilitate business links and cultural and educational exchange between the two nations. In addition, she was Chair from 2012 to 2016 of the Pakistan Britain Trade & Investment Forum, now the Pakistan Britain Business Council.
Baroness Mobarik was appointed an OBE in 2004, a CBE in 2014 and was appointed a Conservative peer in 2014.
Baroness Mobarik said: “I had undertaken higher education study prior to coming here, but it was here at Strathclyde that I found real motivation. That desire to learn, to seek knowledge better to understand the world. This great university provided that spark.
“I firmly believe that business can be a force for good, indeed that it has a responsibility to make the world a better place, to provide opportunity and bring about social as well as economic prosperity. We often hear the words, corporate social responsibility and certainly business has the responsibility to do good and benefit society but what is often less stated, and a matter on which I feel very strongly, is that business at the very least should do no harm.
“We are faced with many challenges - Increasing urbanisation in the developing world, ever growing need for resources, food, water and energy for growing populations, inequality and poverty but also satisfying the demands of a global growing middle class population. These challenges need a collective effort and that means the efforts of both men and women.”
Professor Sara Carter, Associate Principal Learning & Teaching at Strathclyde, presented Baroness Mobarik for her award.
She said: “The award recognises Lady Mobarik’s outstanding contributions to business and to charity and is recognition of the groundbreaking achievements which she has made to our community.
“Baroness Mobarik is one of the most influential women in Scotland today; a Global Scot who has championed business development and greater social cohesion within Scotland and internationally.
“Throughout her career, Nosheena has displayed ambition, boldness and innovation. She is collaborative and people-focused, committed to improving individual lives and mutual understanding between communities. These are deep and abiding values that underpin the Strathclyde community.”
Mr Paterson, who was brought up in Linlithgow, gained a BA in Economics & Accounting and an MBA from Strathclyde, and has more than 25 years’ experience in the venture capital industry. He began his career by training as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young, before joining the Scottish Development Agency, the forerunner of Scottish Enterprise, and going on to run its investment arm
He has led SEP since its inception in 2000 and the company has raised £1 billion during this time. As chair of SEP’s investment committee, he has overseen its investments in more than 150 companies.
He is a non-executive director on the boards of several SEP portfolio companies. He was also a board member with travel search engine company Skyscanner, supporting its growth into a global business with more than 60 million unique monthly visitors and more than 800 staff, before its £1.4 billion acquisition by online travel agency Ctrip in 2016. He is currently Vice Chair of the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association and will become its Chair in 2018-19.
Mr Paterson said: “The University of Strathclyde gave me a great education and the best possible start to my career. It also undoubtedly shaped me as a person. Since graduating, I have been very proud to watch Strathclyde make great advances and build on its reputation for academic excellence to become a leading international technological university.,.
“I have enjoyed my career in private equity and venture capital. What I have liked most is that doing well and doing good do not need to be mutually exclusive objectives. If the companies we invest in are successful, they also make a broader contribution to the economy and to society in terms of enterprise, employment and entrepreneurship.”
“Over the years, we have invested in many great businesses and helped them do incredible things - such as developing pioneering cancer treatments; introducing the world’s first daily disposable contact lens; and building the world’s most successful metasearch tool in travel. Innovation has been the main theme of our investment strategy and today, it is more apparent than ever that innovation is an important driver of economic growth. Successful economies need innovators.””
Martin Hughes, a Visiting Professor in Strathclyde’s Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, presented Mr Paterson for his award. He said: “Scottish Equity Partners, with Calum as Managing Partner, has developed to become, a significant, leading, successful, highly regarded and highly respected commercial investor.
“The SEP track record, is the envy of all, as the industry accolades testify – five times winner, of Venture Capital Firm of the Year and 2016 winner, of Best European Venture Capital/Private Equity Fund.
“By any standards, this is an estimable performance, and testimony, to the strength of the team that Calum has assembled at SEP, and, importantly, how this highly-skilled, highly professional and high-performing team, is led.
“This is a remarkable story, of a remarkable career, of a remarkable Strathclyder. It is underpinned, by hard work, dedication, impeccable professionalism, integrity and success.
And throughout his illustrious, and extensive career, Calum has displayed ambition, boldness and innovation – important values, which are shared by the University of Strathclyde.”