The winners were chosen from thousands of nominations from across the region, spanning business, education, politics and the charity sector. The panel of judges for the event faced a tough challenge selecting the final winners from this high calibre selection of nominees.
Eight coveted Lloyds TSB Jewel Awards were announced on the night for Business & Commerce Excellence, Entrepreneur Excellence, Healthcare & Education Excellence, Professional Excellence, Public Service Excellence, Retail Food & Franchise Excellence, and a new award for the Future Leaders, as well as the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Jewel Award.
This year’s winners, including two recipients of the Business & Commerce Excellence Jewel Award, are:
The Business & Commerce Excellence Jewel Award: Azeem Ibrahim
Founder of the European Commerce and Mercantile (ECM) Bank, Azeem Ibrahim is one of the UK’s youngest, self-made multi-millionaires. Named in The Sunday Times Scots Rich List at the age of just 31, he has amassed an estimated fortune of £54million. An outstanding academic, Azeem gained a PhD in Geopolitical Strategy from Cambridge University, before starting his own IT consultancy in 1997. In 2004 he noticed a gap in the market, for an online private bank that looked after the interests of commodity traders and as a result launched ECM. With offices in Sweden and Dubai, the bank specialises in accounts for corporations and wealthy individuals and its success has earned Azeem his reputation as one of the most skilled investment managers in the industry. In recent years, he has been growing the profile of the bank on the international stage, advising a number of world leaders in the Gulf States. Today, Azeem devotes much of his time to charity projects, such as a unique water purification project in Sudan. He is the founding chairman of four charities, including The Benevolent Fund, which provides scholarships to gifted Bosnian students.
The Business & Commerce Excellence Jewel Award: Dr. Rabinder Buttar
Dr Rabinder Buttar, President and CEO of ClinTec International Ltd, was born in India and educated in Scotland. With a PhD in Immunology from Strathclyde University and a decade of experience with pharmaceutical giants such as Wellcome, Wyeth and Fujisawa, she went onto establish ClinTec International, a leading clinical research organization with special expertise in developing drugs in oncology. Rabinder has a keen interest in assisting the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in advancing therapies in the search of a better quality of life for seriously ill patients.
The Entrepreneur Excellence Jewel Award: Oman Rana
Oman Rana of Industrial Medical Agency graduated from university in 2000 and went on to work for a multi-national company in London, within its Strategic Planning and Global Marketing department. Moving forward, in 2002, Oman set up a company in Yorkshire providing specialist medical reports in the field of head and neck surgery. Initially, a small panel of solicitors was formed for whom such specialist reports were prepared, but following the Woolf Report, key legal reforms and the contraction of Legal Aid, solicitors increasingly sought to have such cases funded and insured. The company is now in the enviable position of being a market leader in providing Otolaryngol Medical Reports with direct contractual relationships with funders, insurers and solicitors. Now aged 30, Oman’s company is one of a select few from within, as well as outside, the Asian community to share this accolade and achievement. In addition, Oman has a burgeoning property portfolio in excess of £15 million.
The Healthcare & Education Excellence Jewel Award: Neeraj Salwan, Harminder Shergill & Sanjay Majhu
Apple Healthcare was launched in February 2003 when Sanjay Majhu acquired his first pharmacy in Saltcoats. He paid £300k for the business and property and received 11% shares
in a local health centre. Subsequently, Harminder Shergill joined the group as Manager and worked his way up to Operations Director and Partner in the company. Neeraj Salwan joined the Group in 2007 as Director. The Apple healthcare group now comprises 17 shops, with interests in two additional health centres. The total turnover has now reached £13 million with a market value for the group of over £20 million, including values in health centres. They forecast PBITDA of the Group to be £2.3 million within the 2008 period with the current portfolio of interests.
The Professional Excellence Jewel Award: Kuljeet Hoti
A Partner in Eversheds, Kuljeet leads the team nationally in the delivery of joint venture arrangements for real estate projects, acting for both the public and private sector. She
focuses on working in partnership with public sector and private sector agencies to implement regeneration through workable partnership structures, and has spearheaded the Eversheds team as pioneers of innovative and groundbreaking approaches to partnership arrangements. Kuljeet has led high profile transactions including the public/private partnership between the East Midlands Development Agency and Igloo Regeneration (involving investment assets worth £20 million and development assets), and has advised the Northwest Development Agency on a similar transaction (involving investment assets in excess of £100 million). Kuljeet is also advising the first local authority (Croydon Council) to adopt a local asset backed vehicle arrangement. Furthermore, this experience, which is at the leading edge of the market, has been instrumental in winning major instructions, including being appointed to Land Securities Trillium’s legal panel.
The Public Service Excellence Jewel Award: Baroness Sayeeda Warsi
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action and is a member of David Cameron’s Shadow Cabinet at the House of Lords. She is a former Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party and is Shadow Minister for the City of Sheffield. Sayeeda was instrumental in the launch of Operation Black Vote in West Yorkshire in 1996 and stood as a candidate in the 2005 general election. Sayeeda has always had a keen interest in racial justice issues. For many years she was an executive member of the Kirklees Racial Equality Council. She has also been a speaker on issues as varied as forced marriages, prison conditions and business network links at a national level. Sayeeda regularly appears in the broadcast media, including BBC’s Question Time and Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour. She has also written numerous articles for the national and regional press. In 2007, Sayeeda participated in the successful mission to the Sudan to free UK teacher Gillian Gibbons and has been named the most influential Asian woman in politics by the BBC. Sayeeda was recently named the 2007 Asian Personality of the Year and has appeared on the Carter Anderson Asian Power 100 list.
Retail Food & Franchise Excellence Jewel Award: Riaz Ahmed
Founder of Sweet Dreams, Riaz Ahmed started his career at the bed manufacturer Silentnight. He spent 16 years working for the firm, latterly as a works manager in the United Arab Emirates for six years. Upon returning to Britain there was no similar position available so, in 1985 he set up his own business, making headboards. Sweet Dreams was incorporated
in 1988 at which time the business had extended to include bed manufacture. Over 20 years he has built the business to a level where Sweet Dreams filed pre-tax profits of £1.09 million on a turnover of £18.5 million for the year ending March 2007. This result is remarkable, considering that a suspected arson attack in 2005 resulted in the business losing approximately £2 million. A combination of other factors, including the loss of credit insurance, the tightening up of banks and their largest customer going into administration, left Riaz and his team with a huge challenge. However, under his stewardship, the situation was turned around and now Sweet Dreams is one of the market leaders with a leaner, financially stronger business.
The Future Leaders Award Winner: Saima Hussain
The Future Leaders Award is a very special award presented to a young individual who has demonstrated strong leadership and social awareness skills. This was presented to Saima Hussain, Sports Development Officer at Getaway Girls. Born in 1979 in West Yorkshire and then going on to study at University of Huddersfield, Saima was inspired to follow Rugby as a sport by her PE teacher at Middle School who saw her potential. Saima is the first ever female to play Rugby League for Yorkshire and has been selected for the Great Britain squad. She has been awarded Player of the Year for the premier division twice and is the only Asian female at her level to play for Great Britain. Saima is the Sports Development Officer for Getaway Girls, an initiative aimed at raising aspiration by encouraging young women to be involved in physical activity.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Paul Dharni
Mr Dharni left India in 1962, having completed his degree in English from Punjab University the previous year. Arriving in England, he located to Bradford where he has remained a staunch supporter of the City from day one. Starting as a bus driver he worked hard to study in his spare time to become the first regulated Asian insurance broker in the north of England. Mr Dharni was also a Founder Member and Chairman of Bradford Asian Business Association In addition to his extensive business interests he invested much of his spare time in supporting the cultural heritage of the Indian community and became Chairman of Trustees of the Hindu Cultural Society, Bradford – the leading organisation for the care of old and vulnerable people from the local community. Under his leadership, the Hindu Cultural Society has raised sufficient funds to inaugurate an ambitious £4 million project that will result in the construction of a brand new Hindu Temple and Elderly Day Care Centre – inaugurated by HM The Queen and HRH Duke of Edinburgh in May 2007. As Chairman of the Hindu Cultural Society he has championed the need for working closely with all of the communities of Bradford in bringing cohesion and harmony to the whole District. AP Dharni is working closely with Chamber of Commerce, New Delhi and Yorkshire Forward to bring overseas direct investment to the UK. He actively supports the regeneration of the District through the Regen 2000 and Trident projects.
Truett Tate, Group Executive Director, Wholesale & International Banking, Lloyds TSB, said: “The continued success story of British Asian firms is an inspiration to the wider business community. Currently, Asian owned firms are outpacing other companies in their rate of growth and are making their mark across fields as diverse as culture, finance, retail and professional services.
“Our sponsorship of the Jewel Awards is just one way that Lloyds TSB is helping to recognise and develop this success. We have established ourselves as a bank that is dedicated to serving Britain’s changing communities. We are continuing to develop our range of Islamic financial services and are always exploring new ways to meet the needs of our Asian customers.”
Khalid Darr, Chairman of Carter Andersen (CA), organisers of The Lloyds TSB Jewel Awards, says: “Asian men and women throughout the regions are challenging the world of business, breaking new grounds in their professional careers and adding real value to the UK economy, this is what these awards set out to recognise.”
STAR TV, the world’s leading Asian satellite channel and the most popular destination for Indian televisual entertainment, are the media partners for this year’s Lloyds TSB Jewel Awards, and will televise all three regional events exclusively on STAR Plus. The Lloyds TSB Northern Jewel Awards will be broadcast on Sunday 18th May 2008 at 9pm on STAR Plus.
Nominations for this year’s Lloyds TSB Central and Southern Jewel Awards are still open and can be made via a dedicated website: www.jewelawards.tv