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What it takes to be a winner


INSPIRATIONAL: (From left, back row) Prakash Thakrar, Joginder Sanger, Sudhir Dole, Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar, Zuber Issa and Dawood Pervez of the Bestway Group;
(middle row, from left) Shane Thakrar and Ravi Goyal; and (front row, from left) Zeenat Noon Harnal, Avnish Goyal and Vidya Goyal; and (below) guests at the ceremony
INSPIRATIONAL: (From left, back row) Prakash Thakrar, Joginder Sanger, Sudhir Dole, Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar, Zuber Issa and Dawood Pervez of the Bestway Group; (middle row, from left) Shane Thakrar and Ravi Goyal; and (front row, from left) Zeenat Noon Harnal, Avnish Goyal and Vidya Goyal; and (below) guests at the ceremony

Asian Business of the Year Award: Euro Garages

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 Issas expand­ed into Europe, buying out competitors to become Europe’s largest independent forecourt operator.

In 2015, they sold a significant stake of the busi­ness to private equity, which valued the company at £1.3 billion.

The group’s growth over the last 17 years has seen Euro Garages now target North America. The US deal will see them take over Kroger’s convenience store business across roughly 760 sites in the US.

Revenues of the enlarged group will exceed $18bn (£12.6bn) giving them 4,500 sites around the globe.

Business Personality of the Year (in association with Bristol Laboratories): Joginder Sanger

SANGER is the chairman of the Mastcraft Group which owns 11 hotels in and around London, includ­ing the Washington in Mayfair and the Bentley in South Kensington. A serial entrepreneur who made his name in the travel business, Sanger has built and developed a number of successful businesses.

He is also the chairman of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Britain’s largest Asian cultural organisation. In addition, Sanger is known for his patronage of the Indian Gymkhana and the Balaji Temple, which are community hubs for Asians in the UK.

Businesswoman of the Year (in association with Premier & Brightsun Travel): Zeenat Noon Harnal, managing director of Bombay Halwa

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. A pioneer of Indian ready meals, he is the name behind Bombay Halwa, Noon Products and the Royal brand.

The Noon family built one of Britain’s leading food businesses, and under Harnal, production at their facilities increased from 100 meals a day to 100,000 daily.

Today the group encompasses an Indian sweets company, an ingredients division and an aviation business supplying ready meals to some of the world’s leading airlines.

Harnal has furthered her father’s legacy, pursuing his philanthropic interests of education and health, both in Britain and India, which includes the Noon Hospital and Research Centre in Rajasthan.

Entrepreneur of the Year (in association with Ed­wardian Hotels, London): Sanjay Vadera, founder and CEO of The Fragrance Shop

VADERA arrived in the UK as a refugee with his par­ents, escaping from president Idi Amin’s terror in Uganda. He began selling perfumes while at univer­sity and won a contract to supply Superdrug.

His brother Vipul joined him in 1998. The siblings 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. It sup­plies perfumes, skin care products and cosmetics to more than 5,000 retail outlets and has also devel­oped a range of its own perfumes.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year (in association with SBI): Shane Thakrar, chief executive of HKS Retail

HKS RETAIL was started by brothers Hasmukh, Kamlesh and Sailesh Thakrar as a single petrol sta­tion in the Midlands before expanding exponentially through innovation and a series of acquisitions.

HKS Retail has a focus on retail convenience and food to go, partnering with brands such as Greggs, Costa and Subway. Under Thakrar’s leadership, turnover grew last year by 43 per cent to £250 mil­lion. The business has more than 70 petrol fore­courts, employing more than 1,000 people.

Thakrar, an international business graduate from Birmingham University, has also spearheaded the family’s philanthropic activities which includes helping to fund a medical training and research fa­cility at the University of Leicester.

Philanthropy Award (in association with SME Group): The Bestway Foundation

THE Bestway Foundation, which is part of the Best­way Group, 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 £15m to the foundation which has funded schools, univer­sities, hospitals and poverty action programmes both in the UK and south Asia.

Bank of the Year: ICICI Bank

ICICI BANK, India’s largest private sector bank, 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. It continues offer competitive services in banking and foreign exchange, providing advice and support to British companies trading and investing in India.

The group set up operations in Britain 15 years ago and has invested over half a billion dollars in capitalising the bank. ICICI Bank is led in the UK by Sudhir Dole, a banker of considerable repute who is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Ahmedabad (IIM), one of the best business schools in the country.

Care Home Business of the Year (in association with Citibond Travel & Qatar Airways): 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.

Acknowledged as one of the best in the sector, Hallmark Care Homes have cinemas, hairdressers and farmhouse-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 of those less fortunate.

Food and Drink Business Award (in association with Sun Mark): HT Drinks & Co Ltd

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 state-of-the-art depot in London and offers a wide range of services, including a walk-in cash & carry as well as an online shop which allows click and collect and click and delivery to customers nationwide.

Started in 1985, HT Drinks & Co is run by Prakash Thakrar, his brothers and their children. The family have also run the successful online business drink­supermarket.com.

Restaurant of the Year (in association with Zee TV): Dishoom

RESTAURANT chain Dishoom, which has six branches in London and Edinburgh, was founded by cousins Shamil and Kavi Thakrar.

Dishoom, a popular choice among foodies, is known for its Indian dishes with a western influence, served in a kitsch, Mumbai cafe-style environment.

Shamil and Kavi, whose family started the Tilda Rice food empire, were inspired by the old Irani cafes of (then) Bombay. They 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, to Scotland.