Asian Business of the Year Award in association with Eastern Eye
Winner: Euro Garages Ltd
Brothers Zuber and Mohsin Issa, who are of Gujarati origin, built the Euro Garages business from a single petrol station in Bury in 2001.
Working long hours and focusing on their convenience and food to go offering, they hit upon a winning formula. Rapid expansion followed, first around their local area in the north and gradually to other areas of the country.
With turnover and profits soaring, the brothers expanded into Europe, buying out competitors to become Europe’s largest independent forecourt operator.
In 2015 the brothers sold a significant stake of the business to private equity valuing the company at £1.3bn.
The group’s growth over the last 17 years has seen Euro Garages expand in Europe and now North America. The US deal will see them take over Kroger’s convenience store business across roughly 760 sites in the country.
Revenues of the enlarged group will exceed $18 billion giving them 4,500 sites around the globe.
Asian Business Award for Philanthropy sponsored by SME Group
Winner: The Bestway Foundation, part of the Bestway Group
The Bestway Foundation is one of Britain’s leading charitable foundations. Established in 1987, it has funded more than 500 Asian-origin students to study in the UK.
The Bestway Group has donated in excess of £15 million to the foundation which has funded schools, universities, hospitals and poverty action programmes both in the UK and South Asia.
In Pakistan, Bestway Group companies have donated more than $10 million to charitable causes, which include health centres and schools. Each year the health centres treat more than 20,000 patients and the group has adopted 29 village schools, providing an education to more than 4,000 students.
Entrepreneur of the Year Award: in association with Edwardian Hotels, London
Winner: Sanjay Vadera, Founder and CEO of The Fragrance Shop
Sanjay Vadera arrived in the UK as a refugee with his parents, escaping from Idi Amin’s terror in Uganda. He began selling perfumes while studying at university and won a contract to supply Superdrug.
Joined by his brother Vipul in 1998, the brothers bought The Fragrance Shop in 2006 and built it into the country’s largest independent fragrance retailer with 213 stores and a strong online presence. The Fragrance Shop supplies perfumes, skin care and cosmetics to more than 5,000 retail outlets and has also developed a range of its own perfumes.
Asian Businesswoman of the Year Award:
Sponsored by Premier & Brightsun Travel
Winner: Zeenat Noon Harnal, managing director of Bombay Halwa.
Zeenat Noon Harnal trained in India before moving back to the UK and joining the family business set up by her father, the late Sir Gulam Noon. He is the name behind Bombay Halwa, Noon Products and the Royal brand, and was a pioneer of Indian ready meals. The Noon family built one of Britain’s leading food businesses, and under Zeenat, production at their business increased from 100 meals a day to 100,000 a day.
Today the group encompasses an Indian sweets business, an ingredients division and an aviation business supplying ready meals to some of the world’s leading airlines.
Zeenat has furthered her father’s legacy, pursuing his cherished philanthropic interests of education and health, both in Britain and India, which includes the Noon Hospital and Research Centre in Rajasthan.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Winner: Shane Thakrar, chief executive of HKS Retail
HKS Retail was started by brothers Hasmukh, Kamlesh and Sailesh Thakrar. It began as a single petrol station in the Midlands before expanding exponentially through innovation and a series of acquisitions.
Under Shane’s leadership, turnover grew last year by 43 per cent to £250 million and the business has more than 70 petrol forecourts, employing more than 1,000 people.
HKS Retail has a focus on retail convenience and food to go, partnering with brands such as Greggs, Costa and Subway.
Shane is an international business graduate from Birmingham University and has also spearheaded the family’s philanthropic activities which includes helping to fund a medical training and research facility at the University of Leicester.
Asian Business Bank of the Year Award
Winner: ICICI Bank
ICICI Bank is India’s largest private sector bank. It is known for its use of technology in financial services, earning it the respect and loyalty of business and individual customers in the UK.
The bank recently partnered with the Indian High Commission for its successful Access India Programme and continues offer competitive services in banking and foreign exchange.
The bank’s trained and knowledgeable staff provide advice and support to British companies trading and investing in India.
The group set up operations in Britain 15 years ago and in that time has invested over half a billion dollars in capitalising the bank. ICICI Bank is led in the UK by Sudhir Dole, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Ahmedabad (IIM), one of the best business schools in the country and a banker of considerable repute.
Asian Business Care Home Business of the Year Award: sponsored by Citibond Travel and Qatar Airways.
Winner: Hallmark Care Homes
Operating at the premium end of the market, Hallmark Care Homes provides residential, nursing and dementia care to more than 1,000 residents across 17 locations in the UK.
Widely acknowledged to be one of the best in the sector, Hallmark Care Homes have cinemas, hairdressers and farm house style kitchens and the 2,000-strong staff treat each resident with care and dignity.
Hallmark is run by three brothers from the Goyal family - Avnish, Ram and Vidya. The family are also big benefactors to several charities.
The Hemraj Goyal Foundation, named after their late father, aims to improve the quality of life for those less fortunate.
Asian Business Restaurant of the Year Award: Sponsored by Zee TV
Winner: Shamil and Kavi Thakrar
Restaurant chain Dishoom, which has six branches in London and Edinburgh, was founded by cousins Shamil and Kavi Thakrar.
Dishoom is a popular choice among foodies and is known for its Indian dishes, tinged with a western influence and served in a fun, kitsch, Bombay café style environment.
Shamil and Kavi, whose family started the Tilda Rice food empire, were inspired by the old Irani cafes of (then) Bombay. He described them as “the first places where people of any culture, class or religion could break bread together – shared spaces mean less violence and less hatred. This is at the heart of what we do.”
Their first Dishoom was in London’s Covent Garden, filled with Bollywood and period memorabilia, before its success led to their expansion in the city and later, Scotland.
Business Personality of the Year award: in association with Bristol Laboratories
Winner: Joginder Sanger
Joginder Sanger is the chairman of Mastcraft Group which owns 11 hotels in and around London, including the Washington in Mayfair and the Bentley in South Kensington.
A serial entrepreneur, he has built and developed a number of successful businesses. Sanger made his name in the travel business.
He is also the chairman of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Britain’s largest and most prestigious Asian cultural organization and is known for his patronage of the Indian Gymkhana and the Balaji Temple, which are community hubs for Asians in the UK.
Food and Drink Business Award in association with Sun Mark: in association with Sun Mark
Winner: HT Drinks & Co
One of the leading wholesalers in the country, HT Drinks is a key partner for many of the country’s leading drinks brands. It operates from a modern, state of the art depot in London and offers a wide range of services, including a walk-in cash & carry and an online shop which allows click and collect and click and delivery to customers nationwide.
Started in 1985, HT Drinks is run by Prakash Thakrar, his brothers and their children. The business has a strong and loyal customer base in and around London. The family have also run the successful online business drinksupermarket.com.