AN Indian entrepreneur whose newest project is a ￡250 million hotel in the heart of London’s tourist district won the top prize at the Asian Business Awards in London on Friday (27).
Jasminder Singh, the chairman and chief executive of the Edwardian Group, received the coveted Asian Business of the Year Award at a glittering ceremony hosted by the Asian Media and Marketing Group (AMG), publishers of Eastern Eye, Garavi Gujarat and the Asian Rich List.
Singh, whose fortune is estimated to be ￡1.35bn in the latest Asian Rich List, along with his son Inderneel, runs a group of 14 hotels, among them the May Fair in Stratton Street, London, and the Vanderbilt in South Kensington.
The group’s latest project is a 350-room Leicester Square Hotel due to open in 2019.
Now in their 18th year, the Asian Business Awards are a celebration of Asian enterprise and wealth in the UK.
There were a total of nine winners on the night, including Mahmud Kamani, CEO and founder of online fashion website, Boohoo.com, who scooped the Business Personality of the Year Award and Baroness Sandip Verma, minister for energy and climate change, who was presented the Mahatma Gandhi Award for Political Engagement.
Home secretary Theresa May, the chief guest, unveiled the latest edition of the annual Asian Rich List, which is a compilation of the 101 wealthiest Asians.
For the third year in a row, the Hinduja family topped the list with a fortune of £15.5bn. Steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal was ranked second (£9.7bn) followed by petrochemicals industrialist Sri Prakash Lohia (£3bn).
May told the distinguished audience made up of entrepreneurs, politicians, journalists, and actors: “Asian businesses are one of Britain’s great success stories. You contribute billions of pounds to the UK’s economy every year.
“You are behind many well known and popular brands and the breadth and variety of Asian businesses is remarkable.
“You have links to many countriesaround the world – obviously to South Asia – and are ideally placed to tap into the huge opportunities such markets present. And you employ hundreds of thousands of people. You have helped to make this country what it is today.
“And of course businesses big and small are helping to power the British economy, generating jobs and prosperity. That’s why supporting business is an integral part of the government’s long-term economic plan.”
AMG’s managing editor Kalpesh Solanki told the audience made up of 800 high profile guests: “Tonight we recognise successful entrepreneurs and the immense value they have created in this great country. From the first curry houses and corner shops, we have prospered and built the finest Indian restaurants to multi-national businesses.”
Solanki noted how the Asian community could sway the outcome in marginal seats up and down the country as the UK goes to the polls in a little over a month.
He added: “There is an important and positive side to immigration which we should be celebrating and talking about. We must remember immigrants create jobs as well. From the Asian Rich List, we have businesses that collectively employ millions of people, pay billions in taxes and have become great corporate citizens.”
Billionaire Asian entrepreneurs were among the guests at the prestigious ceremony, which was held at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge. GP Hinduja, Lord Swraj Paul, Lord Rumi Virjee and Dinesh Dhamija were just a few of the high-profile members of the audience.
Actresses Preeya Kalidas, Laila Rouass and Shobu Kapoor added a touch of glamour to the awards show, which was compered by BBC Asian Network presenter DJ Nihal.
Guests heard from a panel of three industrialists-Amit Patel, who recently sold his pharmaceuticals company, Auden Mckenzie for £306m, Brett Warburton of Warburtons and GP Hinduja of the Hinduja Group.
Accomplished Pakistani singer Shujat Ali Khan, the nephew of the renowned musician, Ustad Shafqat Ali Khan, entertained the audience with uplifting Sufi inspired tunes.
Generous guests donated to the Divine Shakti Foundation which helps orphaned and abandoned children as well as supporting women to become self sufficient in India.
The full list of winners
Healthcare Business Award supported by Nagarjun Pharmaceuticals:
Waremoss Group T/A Kamsons Pharmacy
Restaurant Award supported by Stassen:
Bombay Palace Restaurant
Entrepreneur of the Year Award supported by Bank of Baroda:
Amit Patel, managing director, Auden Mckenzie and Meeta Patel, director, Auden Mckenzie
Food & Drink Award supported by Sun Mark:
Kolak Snack Foods Limited
Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award supported by Lyca Mobile:
Sanjay Thakrar, sales director, HT & Co (Drinks) Ltd
Mahatma Gandhi Award for Political Engagement:
Baroness Sandip Verma, parliamentary under secretary of state,
department of energy & climate change
Global Investor of the Year Award supported BSE Limited:
Cyrus Vandrevala, co-founder and chairman, Intrepid Capital Partners
Business Personality of the Year Award supported by Bristol Laboratories:
Mahmud Kamani, CEO & founder, Boohoo.com
Asian Business of the Year Award:
Jasminder Singh, chairman, Edwardian Group London