Local Asian Firms In The Running For Major Business Accolade

Local Asian Firms In The Running For Major Business Accolade

Shortlist announced for Lloyds TSB Northern Jewel Awards

Northern England is gearing up to celebrate the success of British Asian businesses at the annual Lloyds TSB Northern Jewel Awards, following the announcement of this year’s shortlisted nominees.

Taking place on 19th April 2008 at the Palace Hotel, Manchester the Lloyds TSB Northern Jewel Awards, now in its seventh year, will play host to the crème de la crème of Asian businesses.

Thousands of nominations have been received from across the region and the event’s panel of judges has had a challenging time selecting the final shortlist. The nominations this year have included start up ventures, right through to major corporates and have come from a broad range of business sectors, from the arts to healthcare.

The breadth of nominations cements the North’s reputation as a hub of Asian talent and highlights the growing influence of locally owned Asian businesses on the wider UK economy. Estimates suggest there are over 200,000 Asian owned firms in the UK, generating wealth at three times the national average, many of which are based in the North.

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.”

Dave Allanson, Director and Head of Large Corporate, North West, Lloyds TSB, said: “The Northern Jewel Awards are the perfect showcase for the talent and ingenuity of the Asian community to which this region owes so much.

“The success of our local economy is, in no small part, testament to the efforts of thousands of Asian business men and women and this event is our chance to recognise and reward those individuals.

“For its part, Lloyds TSB continues to do everything possible to nurture and support Asian businesses, large and small, whatever their needs may be, and we hope that we can continue to serve the community as it goes from strength to strength.”

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

The Professional Excellence Jewel Award:
Kuljeet Hoti is a Partner in Eversheds and 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 the public sector and private sector agencies to bring forward regeneration in workable partnership structures, and leads 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.

Tanvir Khan of Capita Symonds was born in Pakistan and came to England in 1962 with his two brothers and mother, to meet up with their father in Sheffield. He became a Chartered Civil Engineer in 1986 and a Chartered Structural engineer in 1989. Tanvir was head hunted for his current company, Capita Symonds, in 1996. At this stage, the Capita Group was undergoing rapid expansion and Tanvir quickly moved from Technical director to Regional director in 2007. He is responsible for operations in the North of England and, in particular, Sheffield and Birmingham. Having lost both his parents at the age of 20, his family and their support have been invaluable, and given him the will to succeed. His name means ‘example’ and he wants to ensure he is an example to all those that wish to be successful.

Sarah Khan is a Solicitor who established Shire Solicitors in 2007. The practice specialises in both defendant and claimant civil litigation, as well as commercial and residential conveyancing. Sarah is also a Director of 2:16 – a West Yorkshire based training company which specialises in cultural awareness programmes and, most recently, in providing specific training in relation to the Muslim community in West Yorkshire. As Patron of the Minorities Police Liaison Committee, she acts as Chairwoman of a sub group of the committee looking specifically at the issue of forced marriages.

The Public Service Excellence Jewel Award:
Yaser Mir is a Senior Lecturer in Community Engagement & Cohesion at the Centre for Ethnicity and Health at the University of Central Lancashire. He is also a Senior Manager
with the Metropolitan Police Service, providing strategic guidance on policing, community safety
and serious & organised crime. Yaser is also developing community-led approaches to preventing extremism and fostering better relations between Muslim communities, the police and the government. Previously, Yaser was the Home Office Drug Interventions Lead managing a National Programme to engage BME drug misusing offenders. During this time, Yaser worked with the Prison Service and prisoners to build mutual understanding, for which he won a national Race and Diversity Award in 2006. Yaser Mir joined the University of Central Lancashire in 2003 as a research fellow, providing support to establish community-led drugs projects across England. He also worked with the Department of Health, providing management and strategic advice to community and voluntary organisations on tackling drugs.

Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, Founder of QED-UK, was born in Pakistan and came to live in Bradford in 1969. He studied Chemistry at Huddersfield University and Business Administration at Bradford School of Management. For ten years, he held senior posts with Bradford Community Relations Council; Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council; Sheffield City Council and at Fullemploy – a national economic development charity. In 1990, he founded QED-UK to work towards a harmonious and cohesive society in which opportunity is not dependent on ethnic origin, race, religion or gender. It is now the leading ethnic minority provider of education, training and employment supported by the government and major businesses. The charity has won several national awards including runner up to UK Charity of the Year Award. For his 25 years’ contributions, amongst many other accolades, he was awarded the Professor Charles Handy Alchemist Award; honorary doctorate by Bradford University; and an OBE in 2001.

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. She 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. Sayeeda has also written 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.
The Retail Food & Franchise Excellence Award:
Riaz Ahmed, Founder of Sweet Dreams, 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.

Anisha Sawhney, Founder of Avinand, was born in 1979 and raised in Liverpool, growing up around her father’s wholesale business. She gained a BA (Hons) in History from UCL, and concluded her postgraduate studies at Liverpool University. Despite her qualifications and business background, Anisha was turned down by various banks for business starter loans. In 2001, she realised that Liverpool was on the cusp of a property boom and began to renovate houses. Anisha reinvested the profits into her own expanding private portfolio which now encompasses over 25 properties. In the last year, she has fulfilled the demand in Liverpool’s market for hotels, and for a variety of accommodation. Using her property background, her new offshoot is serviced apartments catering primarily to the budget airline market. Her no frills, Airport Apartments, is growing in popularity and has landed contracts with notable hotel space providers and airlines alike, including contracts with companies such as Expedia.com and airlines including Ryanair and Easyjet.

Irfan & Ehsan Naseem established Envious Limited in 2003. Brothers Irfan, 27, and Ehsan, 25, have seen their initial outlay of £8k transform into a business with a turnover last year of £1.09 million. From the outset, Envious has established itself as a leading market distributor of modern consumer products combining style, innovation, design and technology. The company proactively selects markets and distributes the best cutting-edge audio, visual, mobile technology and lifestyle products to some of the biggest names in retail: Hamleys, Toy Store, iwantoneofthose.com and Selfridges, to name but a few. Envious prides itself on maintaining excellent relationships with brand partners and clients, whilst delivering a service above and beyond the realm of a typical distribution partner.

The Business & Commerce Excellence Jewel Award:
Azeem Ibrahim of Ecmbank is one of the UK’s youngest and fastest-growing multi-millionaires. He was inaugurated onto The Sunday Times Scots Rich List at the age of just 31, with an estimated fortune of US$106 million. An outstanding academic scholar, Azeem read for a PhD at
the University of Cambridge in Geopolitical Strategy. Since then, he has gained a comprehensive understanding and passion for global markets that has made him one of the most knowledgeable and skilled investment managers in the industry. In fact, over the last couple of years, Azeem has met with and advised a number of world leaders particularly those in the Gulf States. Azeem is also the founding chairman of four UK based charities which include a Bosnian student scholarship project and an orphanage in Bangladesh. Azeem is now working to make all of these projects self-sufficient.

Rajan and Sanjay Kumar’s Rajan Group imports and distributes fashion clothing from its head office in Manchester, its warehouse in the city and a branch office in London. It works on a contract basis with blue chip high street stores, with much of the manufacturing taking place abroad. It also produces its own branded clothes for distribution through smaller retailers. Sanjay Kumar runs Rajan Fashions with his brother Rajan. They have developed the business from their father’s market stall in Manchester to a supplier to top fashion chains. The firm now has offices in New York and the Far East.
Dr Rabinder Buttar, President and CEO of ClinTec International Ltd was born in Punjab, India and brought up in Scotland. She graduated from the Department of Bioscience & Biotechnology, Strathclyde University in Glasgow in 1988 with a PhD in Immunology and has been the President and CEO of the global organisation, ClinTec International Ltd since the day she founded the company in 1997. This company has major strategic offices throughout the world and is now setting up its new headquarters in Glasgow with a view to providing close support and work in partnership with Scottish pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in developing the medicines of tomorrow. Through Rabinder’s relentless efforts and limitless energy, ClinTec International has acquired special expertise in the field of cancer, having collaborated with major Pharma companies in the successful conduct of numerous clinical trials in this area. Information gained in the course of these trials is already helping re-shape and improve the future of cancer therapy.
The Healthcare & Education Excellence Jewel Award:
Pervez N Ghauri, Professor of International Business at Manchester Business School was born in Lahore Pakistan, and studied at Uppsala University in Sweden from where he graduated with Master and PhD degrees in International Business. At present, he is Professor of International Business at University of Manchester. He has been elected as Vice President for Academy of International Business Worldwide and sits on the Board for European International Business Academy and Academy of International Business in UK since 2004. Professor Ghauri has written more than 20 books and more than 50 articles in academic journals. He is often asked by high profile media to comment on current affairs and has appeared on BBC, ITV, Sky News
and BBC Radio 4.

Neeraj Salwan, Harminder Shergill & Sanjay Majhu launched Apple Healthcare 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 health centre. Harminder joined the group as Manager, and worked his way up to Operations Director and Partner. Neeraj joined the Group in 2007 as Director. They now have 17 shops in the group with interests in another two health centres. The total turnover of the group Apple is now £13 million with a market value of over £20 million, including values in health centres. They expect PBITDA of the Group to be £2.3 million within the 2008 period with today’s portfolio.

Professor Daniel Khan is Principal and Chief Executive of the Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education and has devoted the past 18 years to making a difference to education in both the Further and Higher education sectors. After six years working as a Finance Director at the School of African and Oriental Studies, he moved to become the Deputy Principal of York College where he was a significant figure in the successful merger with York Sixth Form College. He joined the Institute in 2001 and has been intrinsic in developing high quality provision as well as embracing widening participation. Daniel has a been driving force behind the continued success of the Institute which received six Beacon Awards, Five Centre of Vocational Excellence Awards and two Star Awards. Recently Daniel was awarded an OBE for his contribution to further education, which he attributed to his dedicated team of staff at the Institute.

The Entrepreneur Excellence Jewel Award:
Sayeed Ahmed, Founder of Portland Group, is a man with an irrepressible appetite for commercial and residential opportunities. Raised in Newcastle’s West End, the 52 year-old has been instrumental in transforming a modest family residential property business into a multi million pound portfolio, comprising residential and commercial developments. Today, Portland Residential is a parent company to the Rashid Group, including seven other firms and specialising in student accommodation, with more than 150 residential units close to Newcastle City Centre. A budding restaurant division in Mallorca has grown rapidly and there are plans afoot for more restaurant openings closer to Sayeed’s West End roots.

Oman Rana of Industrial Medical Agency graduated from university in 2000 and went on to work for a multi-national company in London in the Strategic Planning and Global Marketing department. However, 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. Following the Woolf Report, legal reforms and the contraction of Legal Aid, solicitors increasingly turned to having 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.

Zulfiqar Ali, Chairman of Reach BCS, was former CEO of Celltek and is one of a new breed of social entrepreneurs. Now spending the majority of his time at Reach BCS – an award-winning web development, branding and communications agency – Zulf aspires to lead Reach BCS to become one of the premier agencies in its field. His corporate background has translated in to success in business and developing sustainable long term community ventures like KYP and overseeing the development of Unique Mill enterprise centre – demonstrating the positive impact entrepreneurs play in revitalising their local community. Amongst his many accomplishments, Zulf reached the finals of the National Business Awards, was awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion 2008 and volunteers his time to represent the interests of SME’s on the CBI SME council, Rochdale Development Agency, and Board of KYP. Zulf continues to support local entrepreneurs and emerging businesses throughout the UK.

The Lloyds TSB Northern Jewel Awards are one of three glittering award ceremonies celebrating the achievements of UK Asian businesses. In addition to the Manchester event, further ceremonies covering central and southern regions will take place later in the year.

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

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