Britain's Asian community can help keep the UK punching above its weight.
Founder and chief executive of Cobra Beer, Lord Karan Bilimoria, said Asians made up just four per cent of the population of the country, and yet contributed more than double that to the economy.
Speaking at the Institute of Asian Businesses annual dinner in Birmingham, he said: "Just look at the success of Asians in Britain - they are reaching the very top in every area.
"Britain is a tiny country - just 60 million people - and for Britain and British business to deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapidly growing giants, India and China, and for Britain to continue to punch above its weight, enterprise, innovation and creativity are going to be vital."
The IAB, part of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, presented four awards at its showcase event in front of a record 900 guests.
Baguette du Monde scooped the Outstanding Small Business of the Year award, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Outstanding International Trade Award, sponsored by Pinsent Masons, went to Polypack Polythene, while Anjum Khan of the Basic Training Centre was named Outstanding Woman in Business. The Outstanding Young Businessperson of the Year, sponsored by Ashram Housing Association, in conjunction Accord Housing Group, went to Mohammed Johngir Saddiq of Big Johns.
Gurjeet Kaur Bains, chairman of the IAB, said Asian firms had a key role to play.
"We are now entering what I, and many other observers, are calling the Asian Century," she said. "If the 19th Century was a period dominated by the innovation and boldness of Britain, and the 20th Century by the power of the United States then I truly believe the next 100 years will see the major countries of Asia emerge as great powers.
"This 'Asian Century' will encompass the continued success of Japan, the growth and expansion onto the world stage of China, India and Pakistan, and the emergence of other nations. Britain and Europe are very, very keen to make inroads into these markets and we are in a perfect position to be a conduit for these deals.
"This is just one of the ways we can give something back to our partners in the city and region, and will allow us to play a key part in its economic prosperity."
She added: "Many of the contributions that are made to society by Asian people and businesses cannot be quantified. There is plenty of work that goes on out there unsung and that is just what we have come to expect from our community. There is a culture of compassion and we need to do more to promote this."
* Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, who has been on a visit to India, has praised the interaction between the two countries. She said: "The strength of our trading relationship grows with each day. It is in the interests of both the UK and India to find ways to improve opportunities."