Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

© Asian Media Group - 2024


Lord Rumi Verjee


A HIGHLY successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, Lord Rumi Verjee holds the distinction of bringing Domino’s Pizza to the UK in 1985. He has since led many successful businesses, but his primary focus is pursuing a number of charitable causes through his Rumi Foundation. In fact, giving back is the guiding force that drives the life’s mission of Lord Verjee, who arrived at the shores of Britain as a 15-year old boy, fleeing from Idi Amin’s Uganda. “My family were dispossessed by Idi Amin of Uganda in 1972 because we were Asians, yet I was able to come here and prosper in this country and become an entrepreneur, and my family and I were able to live in freedom and dignity,” he told the House of Lords in his maiden speech on December 12, 2013.

“This country gave me the opportunity to thrive and I truly hope I can help many more people to have that very same opportunity,” he added. Passionate in his belief that young people should have access to opportunities to realise their potential, he launched the Rumi Foundation in 2006, and has since supported a great number of projects, focussing on education, in novation and knowledge building. While the majority of the foundation’s work is based in the UK, it also supports projects in India, East Africa and South America. This emphasis on education is something that his parents – Roshan and Jimmy Verjee – had instilled in him, and according to Verjee, the Rumi Foundation is an ‘essential expression’ of the Verjee family ethos.

“Mum and dad taught me that you don’t mess with education. Because with it comes knowledge, responsibility, and that basically, anything is possible. That was the gospel at home,” he once told New Vision, Uganda’s leading English newspaper. His father was a

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