Top Asian entrepreneurs honoured at awards

Charan Gill named businessperson of the year at ceremony

Celebrities from the business and entertainment worlds gathered last week to acknowledge Britain’s top ethnic minority entrepreneurs at the Asian Business Awards.

The awards, now in its eighth year, rewards successful entrepreneurs from the Asian community. This year’s ceremony, held at the London Hilton, saw Charan Gill of the Harlequin Leisure Group named Entrepreneur of the Year.

Gill started up the Harlequin chain of Indian restaurants in 1984 and now employs over 450 staff after expanding into property and development.

Research has shown that people from ethnic minorities are becoming increasingly entrepreneurial, with black and Asian businesspeople twice as likely to go it alone than their white counterparts.

Despite a growing appetite to start up their own businesses, Asians still face significant barriers, with many still finding it hard to secure finance.

A report by a leading think tank last year also attacked UK businesses for failing to make the most of Asian talent, claiming that equality policies needed to go beyond “rhetoric”.

However, the Asian Business Awards showed that there is significant ethnic minority business talent, with over 600 high-profile Asian figures present to celebrate entrepreneurial success.

The winners at the awards were:

Entrepreneur of the Year: Charan Gill Newcomer of the Year: Jojar Dhinsa Young Achiever of the Year: Kal Kaur Rai The Community Award: Sir Gulam Noon The DTI Innovation Award: Qibla Cola UK Trade and Industry Award: Shehzad Husain Business of the Year: Ramesh Sachdev

The awards, supported by that Eastern Eye newspaper, was hosted by journalist Martin Bashir and attended by the guest of honour, Prince Michael of Kent.

Also present was DJ Richi Rich, Jimmy Choo, journalist Shuilie Gosh, Labour MP Parmjit Dhandha and singer Myleene Klass, who performed live.

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