Asian Business Awards 2018

Asian entrepreneurship and business success were honoured on Friday 27th April at the Asian Business Awards Midlands, the annual gathering of the region's wealthiest and most successful Asian businessmen and women.

The gala event, attended by Chief Guest Heather Wheeler, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, saw her honour the outstanding business achievements across industries.

Cofresh, one of Britain’s leading Indian snacks brand, collected the coveted Asian Business of the Year Award. The company operates out of a state of the art 140,000 sq ft factory in Leicester and is led by founder Dineshbhai Patel’s two sons Priyesh and Minesh. Its products are consumed by more than 1.5 million UK consumers every week. The company makes more than 200 different products and is available in all major supermarkets and exports to more than 28 countries.

A further seven awards were handed out glittering ceremony, held at the Winstanley House, Leicester, including Keith and Maria Bastian, Managing Directors of Fischer Future Heat, were recognised for their passion for bringing efficient and economical heating to the British market as the collected the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Gurvinder Singh Birk, Founder of Fast Despatch Transport Ltd, won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Birk started a small transport logistics company with a vehicle fleet of just two. Today it operates more than 600 vehicles and has become one of the leading last mile delivery experts in the UK. Its clients include manufacturers and international parcel carriers.

The Community Champion Award was presented to Randhir Singh Heer and Parmjit Singh Bahyia, founders of Midlands Langar Seva Society, for their charitable venture MLSS which is one of the biggest homeless street charities in the UK.

AJB Group, founded by managing director Amarjit Binji won the Manufacturing Award. The business operates from a 40,000 sq ft factory and supplies joinery to the most iconic buildings across Britain, from the RBS headquarters in Edinburgh to the Shard in London which boasts no fewer than 500 of AJB’s exquisite door frames.

The Food and Drink Business Award - Sponsored by HKS Holdings, went to Simtom Foods, whose products such as cooking sauces, seasonings, marinades and pickles used in the preparation of Indian foods.

The Healthcare Business Award - Sponsored by Citi Private Bank was awarded to pharmacy chain Jhoots Group, with CEO Manjit Singh Jhooty collecting the award. Headquartered in the Midlands, the group employs more than 450 staff across 90 pharmacies. The group operates from new purpose-built headquarters in the heart of Walsall’s town centre.

The Garavi Gujarat Pioneer Award, in recognition of 50th anniversary of Garavi Gujarat publication, was posthumously given to Bhagwanjibhai Lakhani, founder of Bobby’s restaurant in Leicester. Lakhani founded Bobby's in Belgrave Road in 1976, just four years after arriving in Leicester having been thrown out of Uganda by the dictator Idi Amin, along with thousands of other Asians. Despite having no restaurant experience, he turned Bobby’s into a lasting success and helped cement the reputation of the Golden Mile for quality food, as well as jewellery and clothing.

Also in attendance was Mayor of West Midlands, Andy Street, who paid tribute to the dedication and hard work of the business community and also unveiled the Asian Rich List Midlands 2018.

The Asian Rich List Midlands the biggest and most prestigious celebration of Asian business success in the region. Published by Asian Media Group (AMG), it shows the combined overall net worth of the featured 51 Midlands-based millionaires has topped the £5 billion mark (an increase of £400 million over the past 12 months), with the top 10 being valued at over £3 billion.

After dominating the Asian Rich List Midlands since its inception in 2014, Ranjit Boparan has slipped from the top spot and replaced by Lord Swraj Paul, whose unmatched work ethic continues to see him lead the Caparo Group to worldwide success.

Speaking to the Asian Rich List Midlands, Lord Paul revealed he continues to be 'traumatised' by the tragic of death of his son Angad in 2015, so it's a testament to the 87-year-old's drive, leadership and passion for business that has seen him maintain his £800 million net worth. Lord Paul sights Caparo Group's business in the US, which he says is 'doing extremely well' and their expansion into the Indian market, as key to the company's growth.

Shailesh Solanki, executive editor of AMG and one of a panel of four experts who has examined British Asian wealth over the last year for the Asian Rich List Midlands, said: "The Midlands has for a long time been a beacon of success for the UK. The list shows the remarkable strength and diversity of Asian businesses in the region. And with Brexit on the horizon, and uncertainty over future trading relationships with Europe and the world, this comprehensive list proves that British Asian businesses in the Midlands have the desire, flair and know-how to continue to flourish.”