November 2024
Central London

Asian Business Awards 2022 Winners

The Asian Business Awards were presented by Kalpesh & Shailesh Ramniklal Solanki
Group Managing & Executive Editors
Eastern Eye & Asian Media Group

L-R: Shailesh Solanki, Executive Editor of AMG, Tharshiny Pankaj, Barry Gardiner MP for Brent North, Kalpesh Solanki, Group Managing Editor of AMG and Nihal Arthanayake
Education Business of the Year
Winners : Tharshiny Pankaj, Managing Director and Academic Registrar, The Regent Group

Tharshiny started out offering one-to-one tuition to students from their home. And today some 20 years later it is a truly astonishing educational establishment serving over 6,000 students with offices in London, New York, Dubai and India.

The business was started by Tharshiny and her husband Selva, offering a full range of education from nursery to independent sixth form and through to higher education. The majority of their students are mature and it is now one of the leaders in its sector.

The ethos of the Regent Group is ‘The End of Education is character’. And Tharshiny and Selva Pankaj have created an educational institution of considerable repute which has been dubbed a ‘British unicorn’. During the pandemic the group provided a laptop to every student, offered wellbeing and guest speakers to help students both academically and pastorally. It now offers a mix of both digital and campus courses and has more than a 1000 pupils securing places at the world’s top 10 universities.

L-R: Shailesh Solanki, Parul Goel, Business Territory Head UK & Europe, CFO – UK, Europe, Americas., Rizwan Mahmood and Zayba Sheikh of Ruh Dental, Kalpesh Solanki and Nihal Arthanayake
Healthcare Business of the Year supported by Zee Network
Winners : Rizwan Mahmood and Zayba Sheikh of Ruh Dental.

Our winners are an enterprising husband and wife team who sell smiles. Seeing a gap in the market, they established a dental clinic for restorative treatments to give confidence to patients. In a little over seven years since the business started, the couple now have four sites in key areas of London, Manchester and Liverpool. The business is fast expanding and has established a strong and respected niche in cosmetic dentistry.

Zayba Sheikh was born with the entrepreneurial bug coming from a highly successful business family operating in the care homes sector. She runs Ruh Dental with her husband Rizwan and the couple employ 26 dentists and general practitioners who provide a range of high level dental services. The couple have created a whole new vibe to the dental cosmetics market, working with influencers such as Molly Mae Hague and are at the forefront of a totally different type of dental experience, with high end 5-star-hotel-like boutique clinics with similar attention to care and after-care.

L-R: Shailesh Solanki, Rushanara Ali MP for Bethnal Green and Bow., Aly Janmohamed, Kalpesh Solanki and Nihal Arthanayake
Franchise Business of the Year
Winners : Aly Janmohamed, CEO of Soul Foods Group.

Our winner has franchising in his blood, coming from a long line of franchise operators. He started out with a single quick service restaurant some 30 years ago and today runs one of the biggest fast food franchise operations in the UK and Canada. With more than 400 franchises ranging from KFC, Burger King and Taco Bell restaurants to Starbucks coffee houses, our winner has grown the business exponentially and today employs some 5,000 people.

Aly Janmohamed is one the UK’s leading fast food franchise operators. In addition to the extensive franchise outlets in the UK, Aly and his son Shezhad also operate 232 KFC and Starbucks restaurants in Canada. The father and son team have plans to double the number of stores in the next five years and are actively expanding their operations. Aly is also an active member of the Ismaili community and a large benefactor to many charitable causes.

L-R: Shailesh Solanki, Yogesh Mehta, Managing Director, Pickfords., Sunil, Vraj and Kamal Pankhania, Kalpesh R Solanki and Nihal Arthanayake
Family Business of the Year supported by Pickfords
Winners : Pankhania Family

Our winning family started with a patriarch arriving in the UK in 1968 and working in a car showroom before being given their first loan to develop a dilapidated town house in South London – today the same company is already in the top 25 property development companies nationwide and regarded as a powerhouse in specialist re-development projects.

It all started for the Pankhania family with a single house in Westcombe Hill, South London and from that house, Vraj created an attractive mews. The speciality of Westcombe is its ability take on projects others often reject. Few builders will touch listed buildings knowing the conditions redevelopment must adhere to – but Westcombe under Vraj’s sons, Kamal & Sunil relish this challenge and often defy expectations.

L-R: Shailesh Solanki, Sudhir Sharma, Regional Head Designate for UK Operations, Shaleeza Hasham, Kalpesh Solanki and Nihal Arthanayake
Young Entrepreneur of the Year supported by SBI
Winners : Shaleeza Hasham, Head of Hospitality, Communications and Commissioning, CHD Living

When Shaleeza Hasham joined the family business ten years ago, she oversaw its strategic development and undertook a complete rebranding of the organisation. She implemented new technologies throughout the business and put in place a comprehensive training programme for staff.

And during Covid she founded a charity called Adopt a Grandparent helping to combat loneliness amongst the elderly which has been phenomenally successful worldwide.

Shaleeza is one of the rising stars of the care home sector and is a much sought-after speaker and advocate for the industry. She has made regular appearances on BBC, ITV and Sky News commentating on issues affecting the care home sector. Her ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ initiative went viral pretty much during the pandemic, attracting more than 90,000 people to sign up globally. The charity creates virtual pairings to promote intergenerational relationships, enabling elders to feel valued and also giving young people vital interpersonal skills.


L-R: Shailesh Solanki, Lord Kamlesh Patel, Salim Janmohamed, Kalpesh Solanki and Nihal Arthanayake
Deal of the Year
Winners : Salim Janmohamed, Managing Director, Karali Group

Our winner is a remarkable entrepreneur who started out flipping burgers at his father’s restaurant whilst still a schoolboy. He learnt the trade quickly and opened his own fast food restaurant over four decades ago. Using his vast experience in turning around loss making businesses he built an impressive portfolio of fast food restaurants, eventually becoming the largest UK franchisee for one of the big US brands. Earlier this year he exited the business at an impressive premium and at the height of the market.

Salim Janmohamed built the Karali Group into one of the country’s biggest and most respected Burger King franchise operations. With a portfolio of 74 restaurants at key locations throughout the UK, Salim sold the business to Burger King UK earlier this year at what is believed to be a significant premium. He is now looking to develop new opportunities in the quick service food sector using his extensive experience and knowledge.

L-R: Shailesh Solanki, Dr Vijay Patel OBE, Sakate Khaitan, chair of the Pratham UK board, Kalpesh Solanki and Nihal Arthanayake
Entrepreneur of the Year supported by Pratham
Winners : Dr Vijay Patel OBE, Chairman, Waymade Capital

Our winner is an outstanding entrepreneur who first worked in a fish and chip shop to finance his studies. He qualified as a pharmacist and went on to build a chain of pharmacies before selling them on. With his brother he went into wholesaling and then into manufacturing and developing niche generic drugs. He sold the business at a premium, setting a record at the time. And after starting and building another similar business, he sold out again at an even bigger premium.

Dr Vijay Patel started with a single pharmacy and then with his brother Bhikhu, built up a chain before selling out to Boots and moving up the pharmacy value chain and into manufacturing and distributing medicines – since then he has never looked back – building up Amdipharm, Waymade and Atnahs into powerhouses in the pharma sector. Today the brothers spend much of their time working on the Shanta Foundation, named after their inspiring mother, which supports numerous charities in the UK, East Africa and India.

L-R: Sunny Ahuja, CEO, Mark Group, Tony Matharu, Shailesh & Kalpesh Solanki and Nihal Arthanayake
Community Champion Award supported by Sun Mark
Winners : Tony Matharu, Founder and Chairman, Integrity International Group

Tony has been a passionate and tireless champion of London’s local communities and a powerful advocate for businesses based in the Capital.

During the pandemic our winner mobilised efforts to support the homeless by providing 5,000 rooms and over 30,000 vital meals to those in need.

And after the pandemic his efforts have been equally impressive, forming a community interest company to support a sustainable economic recovery. The group was able to influence positive change in policies to support London businesses as they emerged out of the pandemic.

Tony Matharu is one of the country’s leading entrepreneurs and a passionate philanthropist who has supported countless charitable causes. His work in London through Help-to-Help London was a specular success and helped to save thousands of lives during the pandemic. The Central London Alliance was set up by Tony to support businesses in London as they emerged from the pandemic. The group was able to influence change in the abolition of the 10 pm curfew for hospitality businesses and in advocating the extension of furlough beyond April 2021.

L-R: Shailesh Solanki, shadow leader of the House of Commons, Thangan Debbonaire MP, the Honourable Haider Choudrey Group CFO Bestway Group, Kalpesh Solanki and Nihal Arthanayake
Charitable Foundation of the Year
Winners : Bestway Foundation

The Bestway Foundation is the charitable arm of the Bestway Group, a multi-national conglomerate with interests in wholesale, banking pharmacy and cement. The business was started by the Pakistan-born entrepreneur Sir Anwar Pervez in 1976 and the Bestway Foundation was established in 1987. The foundation is funded by 2.5 per cent of the annual profits of the Bestway Group and through fund raising efforts throughout the year. Since its inception the charity has donated over $45 million to worthy causes in the UK and around the world.

In June of this year, we all saw the devastation caused by the floods in Pakistan – as much as some 33 million people were displaced as a result. The scale of the humanitarian crisis was immense. Bestway Foundation responded without hesitation and raised £2.3million initially – these funds would help 5,000 families find proper shelter, provide safe water for 100,000 and provide medical aid for 20,000. And that was just the start…


L-R: Shailesh Solanki, HHJ Kaly Kaul KC, Koolesh Shah, Kalpesh Solanki and Nihal Arthanayake
Philanthropy Award
Winners : Koolesh Shah, Founder & Chairman, London Town Group of Companies

Our winner is an exceptional entrepreneur and something of a maverick who grew up in the swinging 60s but found his true purpose in the teachings of the great philosopher Sri Aurobindo.

His family foundation has helped countless charities tackling poverty, homelessness and mental health. He has funded schools in deprived areas in Britain, India and East Africa and is also an active mentor to less privileged children helping them realise their potential.

Koolesh Shah established the hugely successful London Town Hotels over four decades ago and his charity work has been prolific and extensive. His Koolesh Shah Foundation has donated to a wide variety of charities in the UK and Africa. Firstly, there is his life as a Gujarati Jain involved heavily in his community; secondly his work with charities such as Framework, Open Homes and foodbank North Paddington; but perhaps, most significantly, is Shah’s work as chairman of the Sri Aurobindo Trust. He has served for 15 years as chairman, promulgating the ideas of self-reliance, high training of the mind, and serving others.

awarded to an individual with recognised leadership ability and a proven track record of commercial success
Businesswoman of the Year
Winners : Prema Subaskaran, Founder, Lyca Health

Our winner is passionate about healthcare and providing the best medical care in a quick and easily accessible manner. She established a modern healthcare facility in the City, largely catering to busy professionals in the world of finance. Offering the latest high tech equipment along with top healthcare professionals, the business has established a loyal and growing client base. Under the leadership of our winner the business has expanded rapidly and now includes a hospital facility in the south of England and a new centre in India.

Prema Subaskaran has always had a passion for healthcare and it was her vision to establish a healthcare business to provide the best medical care using cutting edge technology. LycaHealth in Canary Wharf has been a popular destination for city professionals and in October last year the group took over the KIMS Hospital in Kent, a 72-bed facility with 6 operating theatres.  Prema also set up Westminster Health in India and along with her husband, telecoms entrepreneur Subaskaran Allirajah, created the Gnanam Foundation which helps people in the developing world.

Shailesh Solanki, Kamal Pankhania, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive, Westcombe Group, Mr SP Lohia, Kalpesh Solanki, and Nihal Arthanayake
Asian Business of the Year in association with Westcombe Group
Winners : Sri Prakash Lohia, Founder & Chairman, Indorama Corp

Our winner is a truly exceptional entrepreneur who has built a world class business.

He started his first textile manufacturing unit in Indonesia in 1976 and has since been on a journey of relentless growth and expansion. From textiles the family moved into the production of disposable gloves followed by polyester fibre and a PET plastic bottle plant.  Further expansion followed opening fertilizer plants in Africa and cotton yarn units in Turkey and Eastern Europe.

Despite the rapid expansion the business has not lost its values of care, compassionate and putting people at the heart of their operations.

Over the last two years the group has seen exponential growth with the demand for surgical gloves and fertilizers rising rapidly.

The family moved to London over a decade ago and today the business operates 157 manufacturing units across 37 countries and employs over 45,000 people, generating revenues of over $15 billion.

SP Lohia’s Indorama Group is the world’s largest producer of Polyester and PET Resin, Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest Urea and Phosphate Fertilizer producer and West Africa’s largest manufacturer of polyolefins.

The next generation are now at the helm with SP Lohia’s son, Amit, serving as Indorama’s vice chairman. Amit says his father continues to be the risk-taker in their business dealings. “He operates from the gut and his gut is usually right,” Amit said.


Pearls of Uganda Awards:

The Pearls of Uganda Awards recognised the great sons and daughters of Uganda who made their way here in virtual penury but have gone onto become absolute stars of the business world or pillars of Britain – and in many cases are both.
Asian Media Group will be publishing a list profiling 50 Great Ugandan Asians early next year at the Asian Business Awards evening we recognised a few outstanding individuals who made an exceptional contribution to Britain.

The awards were presented by Kalpesh and Shailesh Solanki, Managing and Executive Editors, Asian Media Group

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, DL
Dr Nik Kotecha OBE, DL
for outstanding contribution to business and philanthropy

Dr Nik Kotecha started his business from a small garage at the back of his garden. With the help of his family, he grew the business into a multi-million pound enterprise, exiting earlier this year. But his real passion and focus has been his charitable foundation which aims to save lives and help the socially disadvantaged.

Dr Nik Kotecha as he is known to friends and family has been in business for more than 30 years and created Morningside Pharmaceuticals to help developing countries get western medicines more easily.  He is a widely respected business leader sitting on various government and business taskforces. As a committed humanitarian, he also set up The Randal Foundation to help the less privileged at both home and abroad.

Lord Dolar Popat
Lord Dolar Popat
For outstanding achievement in business and politics

Lord Popat started out working for 25p an hour at the local Wimpy restaurant to fund his education in the UK. Over the next five decades he built a hugely successful hotel and care home business and at the same time pursued his passion for politics. He became a life peer and has played an active role to engage the Asian community in politics and to nurture the next generation of leaders.

Lord Dolar Popat is the Prime Minister’s Special Trade envoy for Uganda , Rwanda and the Congo and one the leading Asian peers in the House of Lords. An astute businessman he established the TLC Group as a leading care home provider and hotel business but has dedicated much of the last decade in promoting trade between Britain and the African continent. His pioneering work in politics since the 1980s helped break down barriers – the results of which we are witnessing today with our first British Asian Prime minister.

Yogesh Mehta
Yogesh Mehta
for outstanding contribution to business and philanthropy

Yogesh Mehta was born in Uganda in the 1950s and came to the UK as a teenager. Coming from a long line of traders and entrepreneurs, our winner found his feet running an American logistics firm which he ended up buying. In 2008, he took over one of the country’s oldest removal firms. Along with his brothers they have built an extensive logistics, fragrances and cosmetics empire.

Yogesh Mehta and his brothers Hitesh and Dilesh run the hugely successful Pickfords Removals and Shaneel Enterprises businesses. Pickfords is the country’s leading removals firm with a 400-year history which the Mehtas acquired in 2008. Shaneel Enterprises owns some of the country leading perfume brands and together they employ over 5000 people and operate in 14 countries. Mehta continues to manage his businesses and devote resources and energy into his many philanthropic activities.

Dr Chai Patel CBE
Dr Chai Patel CBE
for outstanding contribution to business and philanthropy

Dr Chai Patel started his working life as a doctor but soon saw the enormous need to provide better medical care especially to those suffering from dementia and mental health challenges. He built a hugely successful series of businesses and in the process he became a passionate thought leader on health and social care. His is also a prolific and innovative philanthropist supporting a number of charities across the UK and abroad.

Dr Chai Patel is not just a serial entrepreneur but an innovative philanthropist. He came to the rescue of the ailing Southern Cross care homes business in 2011 and turned the company around. In his time he owned and later sold the  Priory Treatment Centre – well-known for its celebrity client list – but over the last decade his focus has been on his Bright Future Trust charity which helps children realise their potential and ambitions. Chai’s foundation has donated over £5 million to worthy causes over the last few years.


Ambassador Dr Mumtaz Kassam
Ambassador Dr Mumtaz Kassam
For outstanding contribution to diplomacy and the Asian community

Dr Mumtaz Kassam is a brilliant lawyer who came to Britain as a child refugee. Working in both Uganda and Britain, she built up a formidable base of knowledge and was one of the key leaders negotiating with the Ugandan Government to reclaim land belonging to the Asian community.  She has since served as an Ambassador for the Ugandan government and a senior diplomat at the ministry of foreign affairs.

Dr Mumtaz Kassam is an exceptional lawyer and diplomat who has tirelessly served both the Ugandan Government and the Asian community. Her pioneering work helped formulate a workable policy for the Asian community to claim compensation and reclaim land after they were invited back to Uganda in the 1980s. She has since served as the Ugandan Ambassador in Italy and has participated in multinational forums such as the UN, World Food Programme and many other bodies. She is a true global citizen and an outstanding diplomat.

Unfortunately, Pujya Ram Bapa was unable to attend the awards, he is 102 years old. Anoop Radia kindly collected his award.
Pujya Ram Bapa
For outstanding contribution to spirituality and the Asian community

Pujya Ram Bapa is a truly exceptional individual who went to Uganda as a child. He quickly joined the family business selling sugar, wheat, rice and many other goods – the business thrived – but at the age of 17 there was a deep spiritual awakening on meeting his Guru. From that moment on, our winner knew his life was going to be different and he has been one our foremost spiritual leaders ever since.

Pujya Ram Bapa has dedicated his life to spirituality and charitable work. He is a major philanthropist who has helped establish many temples throughout the UK and has been promoting spirituality, wellbeing and charitable giving for over 50 years. He was the first to introduce spiritual leaders like Pujya Morari Bapu into the UK in the early 1980s. In an astute editorial Garavi Gujarat newspaper said that just as Mahatma Gandhi was hailed as the Saint of the Sabarmati river, Pujya Ram Bapa is the saint of the Thames.

At the age of 102, Pujya Ram Bapa is a still an exemplary and tireless force for good.

Unfortunately, Pujya Ram Bapa was unable to attend the awards, he is 102 years old. Anoop Radia kindly collected his award.