Dr Graeme Malcolm OBE’s academic pedigree runs through his innovation as an entrepreneur. He is the CEO of M Squared, an engineering company that brings laser solutions to academic and commercial applications.
Dr Graeme’s story and success also led to a successful night at the Royal Bank of Scotland Great British Entrepreneur Awards ceremony in Edinburgh, where he scooped the ‘Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year’ award.
Winning the overall award for Scotland and Northern Ireland topped off another great year for the distinguished scientist and his firm that’s pioneering laser and photonics systems at a global level.
He then won the ‘Innovation’ award for the UK at the National Winners Evening. But before that, we caught up with him to talk about his success at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards and his journey so far.
How does it feel to be the ‘Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year’ and ‘Great British Entrepreneur of the Year’ for Scotland and Northern Ireland?
It’s an honour, and a real testament to the power of innovation in business and its ability to drive growth, not to mention societal impact. The most innovative companies are the ones that will create the most jobs and value to our economy, so it’s fantastic recognition for both me and the M Squared team on a national level.
How important is it to see an entrepreneurial-focused award giving recognition to entrepreneurs because of their story, not their balance sheet?
We’ve experienced considerable growth since we started M Squared in 2006, roughly doubling in size every two years. It has been a phenomenal journey though, so it’s fantastic to see this recognised. We set out to transform photonics technology for scientific researchers, and we did, now we’re also building revolutionary new light-based technologies in areas such as quantum applications and life sciences. Today, we’re working and collaborating with Nobel Prize-winning scientists, leading universities and the world’s most innovative businesses. We’re responsible for some UK and global ‘firsts’, and it still feels like just the start of our story.
There’s a great deal of inventiveness in your line of work. Where does your inventive spirit come from?
I have always been fascinated by science, since school, and knew I wanted to use technology to make an impact on the world, and that’s what I’m doing today. One of the most exciting parts of my job is meeting scientists across the globe and developing ideas. I take abstract scientific concepts and look at how they could be useful in the everyday world. One example is our Aurora technology that is having a huge impact on brain research that could lead to breakthroughs in how we diagnose diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
For the full interview, head to the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards website.