A FAMILY business that has seen its turnover quadruple in under a decade won the top prize at the annual Asian Business Awards Midlands on Friday (15).
Hasmukh, Kamlesh and Sailesh Thakrar of HKS Retail, one of the largest independent petrol forecourt chains in Britain, scooped the prestigious accolade for driving spectacular growth of their business since it was set up in 1984.
The Thakrar family are worth ￡38 million and ranked 21st in the Asian Rich List Midlands, the latest edition of which was launched at the Asian
Business Awards Midlands in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Baroness Sandip Verma, the Conservative peer and parliamentary under secretary of state, who this week has taken up her new role at the Department for International Development (Dfid), was the chief guest at the annual event.
In her keynote speech, Baroness Verma said: “We cannot be ignored as a community because some of us here are among the biggest wealth creators and we must celebrate our own contribution.”
An audience of 350 high-achieving entrepreneurs, politicians and community leaders applauded as Baroness Verma unveiled the latest edition of the Asian Rich List Midlands which charts the success of the 51 wealthiest Asians in the region.
Birmingham-based billionaire couple Ranjit and Baljinder Singh Boparan head this year’s list, with an estimated wealth of £1.35 billion, followed by Lord Swraj Paul in second place with £725 million.
Among the many inspiring stories of south Asian entrepreneurs in the Asian Rich List Midlands are those of the Thakrar family, and Charan Dass Sohal, whose global garment business Orbit International, grew from a small family-run enterprise in a shed.
Recounting the story how her family moved to the UK in the late 1930s, Baroness Verma said her grandfather was the first man of Indian origin to open a factory in 1942.
In his remarks, Kalpesh Solanki, group managing editor of the Asian Media and Marketing Group (AMG), which publishes the Asian Rich List Midlands, Eastern Eye and Garavi Gujarat, said: “We must celebrate and value enterprise and the role of entrepreneurs. They create jobs and provide families with value and a sense of purpose. This is why tonight is especially important where we can recognise successful entrepreneurs and the immense value they have created in this great country.”
He added: “People of power and influence in government must also be fair and equitable. They should not be seen to discriminate against some of their citizens.”
Guests heard from Labour MP Barry Gardiner (Brent North) and Baroness Verma as they discussed the outcome of last week’s general election. BBC presenter DJ Nihal was the moderator and host for the evening.
Award-winning singer and songwriter Navin Kundra entertained guests who also gave generously to a charity appeal by the Divine Shakti Foundation for those affected by the earthquakes in Nepal.
Sponsors and supporters of the Asian Business Awards Midlands included Close Brothers, Rybrook Rolls-Royce, Mazars, Stassen Tea and Bank of Baroda.
Full list of winners
Asian Business Healthcare Business of the Year Award 2015
Surjit Rai of the Rushcliffe Care Group.
Asian Business Restaurant Award
Jaswinder Singh Choongh, of Jimmy Spices.
The International Business Award
Charan Dass Sohal of Orbis International and Direct Corporate Clothing.
Asian Business Fast Growth Business Award
Morningside Pharmaceuticals in Loughborough
Asian Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2105
Palminder & Engrez Sanghera, of SEP Properties
Asian Business Manufacturer Award 2105
Bill and Jasvinder Panesar of Panesar Foods
Midlands Asian Business of the Year Award 2015
Hasmukh, Kamlesh and Shailesh Thakrar, HKS Retail
* To get a copy of the Asian Rich List Midlands or the national edition of the Asian Rich List (unveiled in March), email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7654 7737