Creme of Midlands Asian Talent Shortlisted for Lloyds TSB Central Jewel Awards

Creme of Midlands Asian Talent Shortlisted for Lloyds TSB Central Jewel Awards

Talented Asians across Central England are in the running for a major accolade this month, at Lloyds TSB’s Central Jewel Awards. The nominations for the event are revealed today following a record 13,000 nominations.

The annual ceremony, now in its fifth year, is set to take place at the NEC Hilton, Birmingham on 14th July 2007 and will celebrate the continued achievements of British Asians in both the public and private sector.

The awards reflect the growing influence of the Asian community on the UK’s culture and economy and bolster the Midlands’ reputation as a hub of Asian talent. There are an estimated 200,000 Asian firms in the UK, generating wealth at a rate three times the national average[1] – many of whom are based in the Midlands.

Lloyds TSB’s sponsorship of the Jewel Awards is just one aspect of the bank’s continuing involvement with the UK’s fast growing Asian population, as an employer and a financial services provider. The Group has also developed a range of products and services catering for the community’s unique financial needs. These include a range of Islamic banking services – and a tie up with India’s second largest bank, ICICI Bank, to provide customers with free money transfers between the UK and India, as well as Rupee mortgages[2] for Indian property purchases.

Truett Tate, Group Executive Director, Wholesale & International Banking, Lloyds TSB, said: “The success story of Britain’s Asian community continues to be unabated. Year after year, the shortlist for the Lloyds TSB Jewel Awards showcases an incredible array of talent and this year is no exception.

“Through the Lloyds TSB Jewel Awards we want to demonstrate the achievements of the community across the public and private sector. But that is just the start. We have established ourselves as a bank that is dedicated to serving Britain’s communities. Our Islamic financial products and our India Banking Service are just two examples of initiatives we have launched to cater for the needs of our increasingly diverse population.”

Seven Jewel awards will be announced on the evening for Business & Commerce Excellence, Entrepreneur Excellence, Healthcare & Education Excellence, Professional Excellence, Public Service Excellence, Retail Food & Franchise Excellence, and the coveted Lifetime Achievement Jewel Award. Each nomination has been profiled and vetted to form an elite shortlist. This year’s shortlist includes:

The Business & Commerce Excellence Jewel Award -Arvind Vij, Group Finance Director at LPC Group, provides leadership to the finance team and is deeply involved in the next phase of the Group’s growth through acquisitions and other strategic programmes; Avtar Singh Gakhal is the Managing Director of Birmingham Plating Company, one of the largest electroplating businesses in the UK, and also the Chairman of Black Country Asian Business Association; and Mohammed Iqbal’s founder of leading firm Tile Giant, trades with 29 stores and has created over 100 jobs throughout the business.

The Entrepreneur Excellence Jewel Award – Jas Rihal, Managing Director of Purple Link Properties, was invited to join the company two years ago and was pivotal in increasing the company’s property portfolio from 6 to over 100; Waseem Saddique, Chairman of The EverPlus Group, started on the road to success in 1996, with the opening of mobile phone retailer Mobile Connections, part of the Group, which now has a combined turnover in 2006/07 of over £74m; and Amer and Zeshan Mirza, Joint Managing Directors of Individual Specialist Cars, one of the fastest growing specialist vehicle body repair & sales centres in the Midlands.

The Healthcare & Education Excellence Jewel Award – Asha Khemka, Principal and Chief Executive of West Nottinghamshire College, was born and brought up in a small village in India, married at the age of 15 and became a full time housewife for 20 years, with little opportunity for formal education. Within a space of 20 years, she has gone from being a mature student to becoming the Principal and Chief Executive of West Nottinghamshire College, which is one of the biggest colleges in Europe with 20,000 students and 1,200 staff; Mumtaz Jahan Hussain, Head of English and Europena Law – University of Wolverhampton, is also a Fellow of the Institute of Higher Education and leads the mediation and arbitration provision at the University. Whilst at the Univeristy of Wolverhampton, she pioneered clinical legal education and set-up a pro-bono law clinic to provide opportunities for law students to gain work experience in the legal field and to serve the local community; and Professor Pawan Budhwar, Head of the Work and Organisational Psychology Group – Aston Business School, who is the world leading scholar on Human Resource Management in India and has been conducting comparative management research since 1993.

The Professional Excellence Jewel Award – Iftkhar Ahmed is the Equity Partner at Eversheds, the largest real estate department in the UK. He has led on some of the largest and most significant property transactions in the country including acting as lead advisor on the £2 billion plus securitisation of Mitchells & Butlers Plc’s pub/hotel portfolio and on Mitchells & Butlers acquisition of 239 properties from Whitbread Group for £500 million; Mo Afzal, Founder of HMA Lawe, established his own niche law firm specialising in commercial disputes & professional Negligence. Recent cases have included a multi-million pound negligence claim against a firm of insurance brokers. He is also a visiting Lecturer in Law at the University of Aston, in Birmingham; and Mohammed Younis Bhatti, Senior Partner of Younis Bhatti & Company, is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales running a successful accountancy practice in the name of Younis Bhatti & Company since 1981.

The Public Service Excellence Jewel Award – Charanjit Mehat, Head of Drug Interventions – HM Prison Service, the first Asian female to get to Governor grade through the ranks; Manjula Sood, Councillor, was instrumental in introducing multiculturalism in the education sector during her time as a teacher, with her services being recognised by a visit to her class by the then Secretary of Education, Sir Keith Joseph. She was also the first Asian female primary school teacher in 1972, the only ethnic minority female Councillor at Leicester City Council, currently the first Asian female High Bailiff in the UK, the first female Asian Cabinet member of Leicester City Council; and Mohammad Nazir, Chairman of West Midlands Minority Ethnic Business Forum, who has spent the past five years at the forefront of championing the cause of minority ethnic communities and businesses.

Retail Food & Franchise Excellence Jewel Award -Habib Rehman, Habz Hairdressers, has an array of international celebrity clients including sports figures such as Shahid Afridi, singers Bitty McClean, UB40 to Bollywood stars Sunil Shetty and Salman Khan. Habz’s work has also received praise from Her Majesty the Queen on her visit to Birmingham; Mohammed M-Hasan is the Managing Consultant at Catalyst Associates, an Executive Search firm where he advises PE backed and listed businesses on sourcing senior executives for key positions. Mohammed also created the IoD Young Directors Forum and led the AGED (Age, Gender, Ethnicity and Disability) campaign to broaden the talent pool of directors in the UK; and Shelim Hussain MBE, Chairman of Euro Foods Group, one of the countries fastest growing frozen foods distributors.

The Lloyds TSB Central Jewel Awards are one of three glittering award ceremonies celebrating and congratulating the achievements of the movers and shakers of UK Asian enterprise, with the final event, Lloyds TSB Southern Jewel Awards, taking place on 15th September 2007 at Hilton Park Lane, London. Nominations for this year’s Lloyds TSB Southern Jewel Awards are still open and can be made via a dedicated website:

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