HOTELS and healthcare, restaurants, retail and investment banking – the best of British Asian enterprise was celebrated at the annual Asian Business Awards in London last night.
Asian entrepreneurs were the toast of the gala evening, hosted by the Asian Media and Marketing Group (AMG), publishers of Eastern Eye and Garavi Gujarat.
Home secretary Theresa May, who was the chief guest, launched the latest edition of the Asian Rich List 2013 in the presence of an 800-strong audience comprising captains of industry, self-made millionaires, billionaires and top politicians. The list is a compilation of the top 101 wealthy British Asians, and this year the Hinduja brothers beat ArcelorMittal's Lakshmi Mittal to the top spot, with a wealth estimated at £12.5billion.
On the evening, a dozen entrepreneurs walked away with the prestigious Asian Business Awards, with the coveted Asian Business of the Year going to discount retailer B&M Stores, run by brothers Simon, Bobby and Robin Arora.
“We are here to celebrate the success of business people,” May said.
“No one here started by being on a rich list, you made it by the sweat of your brow.
“Thank you to all that you do to contribute to our economy.”
Now in their 16th year, the Asian Business Awards salute excellence, acumen and achievement within the community.
At a time when the British economy is struggling, Asian businesses have not only survived, but flourished and grown exponentially, illustrating the innate affinity for enterprise, as seen with the Arora brothers, Ranjit Boparan or indeed any of the 101 entries in the Asian Rich List.
A highlight of the evening was a panel discussion featuring Dr Yusuf Hamied, chairman of Indian pharmaceutical giant Cipla; Gopichand Hinduja, co-chairman of the Hinduja Group and Sudhir Choudhrie of the C&C Alpha Group.
They discussed the intricacies of running family enterprises, their role an increasingly global world and also, how they relaxed.
Dr Hamied drew rounds of applause while outlining how his firm led the fight against western pharmaceutical companies in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Hinduja recalled the legacy of his father and how it drove every decision that he and his brothers made. His comment about graduating from UOL, the University of Life, was met by laughter from the audience. All three were unanimous in saying that they “relaxed” by “working”.
Among those who attended the awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge were MPs Priti Patel, Sadiq Khan and chairman of the home affairs select committee, Keith Vaz, filmmaker Gurinder Chadha, actress Nina Wadia,, Adil Ray of BBC comedy Citizen Khan, bankers and business leaders.
AMG's managing editor Kalpesh Solanki said: “Entrepreneurs exploit opportunities. They take on dominant players, some entrepreneurs innovate and some provide a unique service.
“The Asian Business Awards provides a unique platform for us to celebrate the success of these entrepreneurs and to share their experiences with us.
“But businesses succeed within the right framework and it is the responsibility of the government to build such a framework. There must be incentives for business to succeed and special incentives to encourage small and medium enterprises.”
The Asian Business Awards also raised funds for the British Asian Trust, whose patron is Prince Charles and the Aangan Trust in India, which provides for underprivileged children in India.
This year the winners were picked by a panel of judges including Tarsem Dhaliwal, finance director of Iceland; Ajay Khindria, director, global financing IBM UK; Zarir Cama, former group general manager at HSBC, Surinder Arora, CEO and founder of the Arora Group of Hotels.
Guests at the ceremony enjoyed a lavish four-course Indian meal and were entertained by Patrick Alan band.
Asian Business Awards 2013
Asian Businesswoman Award in association with Brown Shipley
Annette D’Abreo, managing director Ceuta Healthcare
Hotelier Award in association with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and Deccan Odyssey
Tony Matharu, Grange Hotels
Healthcare Business Award in association with Bank of Baroda
Dr Kartar Lalvani, chairman, Vitabiotics
Nursing Home Operator Award in association with LCA Business School, London
Avnish Goyal, managing director, Hallmark Care Homes
Restaurant Award in association with by Stassen Tea
Café Spice Namaste
Entrepreneur Award in association with Waymade Plc
Zuber Issa, managing director, Euro Garages
Food & Drink Business Award in association with DVK Group
Social Entrepreneur Award in association with Sun Mark
Rumi Verjee, The Rumi Foundation
Young Entrepreneur Award in association with Chivas
Amit Bhatia, Swordfish
International Business Award in association with State Bank of India
Sun & Sand Group of Companies
Eastern Eye Lifetime Achievement Award
Sudhir Choudhrie, C&C Alpha Group
Asian Business of the Year in association with HSBC
Arora Brothers, B&M Stores
For full coverage of the Asian Business Awards, pick up next week's issue of Eastern Eye (March 29) from your local newsagent.
To order a copy of the Asian Rich List (£25), call Saurin Shah on 020 7654 7737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org