Oliver Dowden praises Asian businesses for ‘unwavering ambition, perseverance’
Oliver Dowden said, “The success of British Asian businesses has affected so many sectors, from medicine to manufacturing, food to pharma, steel to retail, creativity to tech” – (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Oliver Dowden invoked the example of prime minister Rishi Sunak as the deputy prime minister paid tribute to the success and resilience of the British Asian community.
Addressing the 25th annual Asian Business Awards last Wednesday (22), Dowden praised the Asian community for rebuilding post-war Britain and laying the foundation for “the society in which we live today, driving the growth and creating the jobs we all depend upon.”
Dowden also lauded the “unwavering ambition, hard work, and determination” of Asian businesses in his address.
He told the audience, “Again and again, people of Asian heritage have trodden that path to success, including, I should add one bright young lad that started out helping in a pharmacy.
“The man who has trodden path from a small shop in Southampton to 10 Downing Street… who shows that anything is possible in this great country, our first British Asian prime minister… my boss, Rishi Sunak.”
Dowden said Sunak’s journey resonated with those migrants who faced hardship on their journey to success in the UK.
“So many, in fact, you could be forgiven for thinking, as he (Sunak) said in his conference speech, it’s just not a big deal. But, actually, the hardships faced by so many of those first-generation Asians who came to this country, are only just now beginning to be understood and fully appreciated.
“Many came here with just the clothes on their back, may be just a few pounds in their pockets – It was hard. It was lonely. It was sometimes even dangerous.”
Dowden noted that some of the largest businesses in Britain are of Asian origin and added, “They reflect the very best of our British values.
“Westcombe Group, the award sponsors, are a shining example, a testament to the hard work and perseverance of the Pankhania family.”
In his remarks, the deputy prime minister also acknowledged the success of the Asian Media Group (AMG) and its late founders, editor-in-chief Ramniklal Solanki and his wife Parvatiben, who began the flagship title, Garavi Gujarat, in the late 1960s, with a simple stencil-copied news sheet in a Wembley terraced house in north London.
Dowden said, “This story echoes the experiences of numerous British Asian businesses and extends beyond mere success.”
He likened the process to a recipe, saying, “It’s not just a success story. It’s a recipe. Take a great idea. Combine it with unwavering ambition, add in the hard work, throw in a huge dollop of determination, keep stirring, keep stirring, keep stirring and eventually, you will defy expectations and achieve great things,” he said.
He added, “The success of British Asian businesses has affected so many sectors, from medicine to manufacturing, food to pharma, steel to retail, creativity to tech.
Dowden further emphasised the significance of innovation and maintaining a competitive edge in this ever-changing environment.
He highlighted the government’s significant investment in artificial intelligence, recognising its potential to revolutionise daily lives and work processes.
According to the deputy prime minister, the government aims to support businesses as AI becomes increasingly integrated into society.
He added, “Let us think ahead to the future success stories and the future winners. Let us consider how we can lead the way and light their paths to truly fulfill this country’s promise as a land of possibility.”