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The Business, Success & Inspiration Magazine For Today’s Asian Entrepreneur

Vol. 1 Issue 1

BAV PATEL

The man behind the magic of Mistique Events

HIRING SIR RICHARD BRANSON the asian entrepreneur who just hired his hero

Also in this issue Behind the scenes with PINKY LILANI OBE

- Performance Psychology - What Drives British Asians to Succeed? - The GAME Plan

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WELCOME

PUBLISHER

K. Patel

J. Payne

KALPESH PATEL

JO PAYNE

EDITOR

The Business, Success & Inspiration Magazine For Today’s Asian Entrepreneur

Vol. 1 Issue 1

BAV PATEL

The man behind the magic of Mistique Events

HIRING SIR RICHARD BRANSON the asian entrepreneur who just hired his hero

Also in this issue Behind the scenes with PINKY LILANI OBE

- Performance Psychology - What Drives British Asians to Succeed? - The GAME Plan

2012 EVENTS Previews & Reviews AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

AW cover.indd 1

1£4.99 04/05/2012 10:29

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ASIAN WEALTH MAGAZINE VOL 1 ISSUE 1 Cover: Bav Patel of Mistique Events Photograph: Phil Bourne Photography

Thank you . . . We’d like to say a big thank you to all the editorial contributors, partners and companies who have joined and supported this new publication. As readers, we hope you enjoy this first issue and look forward to receiving your views and feedback on the magazine.


WHAT IS

Publisher Kalpesh Patel Kp@media-36.com T: +44 (0)20 8406 8992 Editor Jo Payne jo@media-36.com

? In our inaugural issue of AWM, we’d like to take you on a journey of inspiration, look deeper into what drives British Asians today and highlight practices and theories which could help you and your business. But first, we answer the questions: what is AWM? Who is it for and why is it here? Put simply, AWM is a business publication for the British Asian entrepreneurial and business community. AWM is a magazine that celebrates Asian entrepreneurship and seeks to inspire the next generation of the British Asian business community. AWM has arrived to fill the gap from the old to the new. Our objective is to look at, review and highlight first generation British Asian entrepreneurs, business people and professionals. Those born or raised in the UK and have a different journey to walk, and a different story to tell. We would never for one moment take away from the journeys, struggles and lessons learned from the migrant generation. However, this new generation has different expectations, a different society and a different playing field. It is important for entrepreneurs to be inspired by, and relate to, their own generation. In each issue we will be featuring interviews with British Asian entrepreneurs, from the budding new ones to the long-term established ones. Looking at their business, what they do, where and how they started, their journey so far and the factors which drive them to succeed and move forward. In addition, we’ll report on subjects and issues relating to businesses small and large. We’ll be reviewing and previewing industry events, publishing psychological articles relating to the Asian business community. Plus a lot more. AWM will be published quarterly and distributed nationally. The magazine is specifically tailored for the business community from small start-up businesses, to large international companies owned and founded by those on the UK Asian rich list. Our audience include entrepreneurs, business founders/owners, top level management, directors and PhD professionals. The reason we decided to produce and publish AWM is because a similar publication simply did not exist. Sure there are news magazines and tabloids for the Asian community, maybe even a couple of Asian business magazines. However, there is no business publication on the market today which focuses on and inspires first generation British Asian entrepreneurs and business people. This magazine is produced by the first generation, meeting the expectations and producing a product for the first generation. I hope you enjoy the first issue, and please do not hesitate to send me your thoughts and views on the publication.

Design Richard Ponder Online Management Nemash Patel Subscriptions Nanda Bahdoor Editorial Contributors Vikas Shah Shaz Memon Dr Hamendra Patel Ellie Parsons Robert Marshall Melissa Stewart Priya Mulji

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Advertising Ed Andrews ed@media-36.com T: +44 (0)20 8530 8322 M: +44 (0)7880 702 227 www.AsianWealthMag.co.uk

Publishing & Design © MEDIA36 Ltd Asian Wealth Magazine is published by Media36 Ltd, PO Box 3296, South Croydon, CR2 1GT, United Kingdom www.Media-36.com

All Rights Reserved No copy without the written consent of the publishers first given, can be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise disposed of in a mutilated condtion or in any unauthorised cover, by way of trade, or affixed to or as any part of a publication or advertising, literary or pictorial matterwhatsoever. Media36 publications are fully protected by copyright and nothing may be printed wholly or in part without permission. Every possible effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this publication is accurate at the time of going to press and neither the publishers nor any of the authors, editors, contributors or advertisers can accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, however caused. No responsibility for loss or damage occasioned to any person acting, or refraining from action, as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by the editors, authors, the publisher or any of the contributors or sponsors.

Kindest regards Kalpesh Patel Publisher

AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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A WORD FROM THE

EDITOR

Dark clouds mean silver linings

I

t’s official, the UK economy is back in recession. Following two quarters of negative growth, this is the second time the UK has been in recession in three years, and for the longest period of time within the last 100 years. Market observers forecast that it will be 2014 before we see signs of financial life. More and more statistics have churned though the media. Silver linings have been few and far between; youth unemployment, redundancy and businesses entering administration have taken up far more column inches. One report that did make us sit up and take notice here at AWM was a recent Avon-commissioned survey of 1,000 self-employed women. It revealed that almost 40% of those surveyed believed their business will grow in the next three years; and 46% think it will remain stable. From this small cross - section of UK business owners, it is clear that entrepreneurial confidence has not been dampened by the continuing waves of headlines bemoaning businesses falling victim to the administrators, and employees falling victim to the well-sharpened (and often-wielded) knife of redundancy. When putting together our first issue of AWM, we have also noticed that entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking within the Asian community, something we want to encourage and celebrate in this edition and future issues. It is clear by reading the pages of AWM that where there is challenge there is opportunity. We talk to Vishal Misal, a 24-yearold who made his own headlines earlier this year when he booked his business hero Sir Richard Branson as the keynote speaker at the event Business 2012.

Vishal talks about his decision to start his own business as an alternative to getting a corporate job. If I put the same amount of effort into my own business as I was putting into job applications, I knew I could be a success, he told us. The extent of Vishal’s early success may be the dream for many graduates, and seasoned entrepreneurs for that matter, but he puts it down to hard work and common sense. Yet it is not just common sense that makes an entrepreneur. In this first issue you will find an in- depth interview with the entrepreneur Pinky Lilani, a one-woman force to be reckoned with behind the Asian Women of Achievement Awards and Spice Magic. Pinky talks about her passion and belief behind her business, which inevitably makes it a success. Bav Patel, the founder of Mistique Events, talks to us about using creativity to get a competitive foothold within business; something that is hard to come by and even harder to keep. It is clear by reading the pages of AWM that where there is challenge there is opportunity. Each business faces its own individual barriers; but with each test comes its own reward. What matters is to keep the end goal in mind, and find or develop the skills to overcome those bumps in the road. Many graduates, or seasoned employees for that matter, considering an entrepreneurial life may look back in 10 years and decide that this long and dark recession is the best chance they ever had. The key is to grab that chance with both hands and never let it go.

Editor AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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CONTENTS VOL 1 - ISSUE 01

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From Bhoom to Branson

Vishal Misal, the 24 year old Asian entrepreneur talks exclusively to AWM about vision, confidence and booking Branson.

13

A Helping Hand

14

Inspiring quotes and Anecdotes

15

The BIG Debate

16

Man behind the Magic

23

The Web Game

25

Every Second Counts

29

The Asian Advantage

31

Book Review / Highlight

32

Pinky makes the Difference

37

What is TiE? and how does the organisation work.

Readers views and answers on debate questions

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Interview with Bhavesh Patel of Mistique Events about life, success and struggle, in a bid to find the man behind the magic.

Shaz Memon, creative director of the digital marketing agency Digimax, explains how the use of purchase beacons can improve your marketing investment.

Dr Hamendra Patel believes he has found the magic formula to finding more time in his day. Here, he tells AWM his secret to finding those elusive hidden seconds.

We talk to Dr Spinder Dhaliwal about what drives British Asians to succeed, and investigate the Asian phenomenon of making a fortune.

Making a Fortune: Learning from the Asian Phenomenon by Dr Spinder Dhaliwal

Queen of award ceremonies, motivational speaker and entrepreneur Pinky Lilani OBE tells Asian Wealth how she champions women in their careers and why her Indian cooking can melt the heart of any CEO.

Importance of Business Insurance

Trident Insurance sets the record straight on business insurance, what you should expect from your broker and the importance of a thorough appraisal of insurance needs.

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44

41

A Head for Business, A Heart for Love

When business is booming and your focus is squarely on creating or growing a successful business, dating might be the last thing on your mind and in your diary. Interview with Salima Manji (Founder of The Asian Dinner Club)

Olympic Inspiration

Resilience, focus, drive... just some of the traits neededto be an Olympic athlete. Here we explore how the skills deployed by professional sportspeople can be just as important in the boardroom.

52

NEWS in Brief

55

The Game Plan

66

Event Preview

71

Event Review

77

Organisation/Charity Review

80

Upcoming Events

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Business and community news

We interview a selection of Asian entrepreneurs to see where they see themselves and their businesses in 5 years. - Kuldip Sohata (Mr Singh’s Chill Sauce) - Jigs Pattni (Jewellery designer) - Raspinder Singh (Gradpreneur) - Rajeeb Dey (Enternship)

The Asian Women of Achievement Awards seek to hold up the unsung heroines of British life in high esteem. AWM took a closer look at the shortlist in anticipation for the awards.

Now in its 11th year, one of the well-established and bestattended wedding exhibitions is Asiana Bridal Show. AWM went along on a freezing Sunday morning in January to see what it had in store.

Financial power couple Marcus and Mudrika de Maria have been teaching adults the theory behind wealth for many years. Now, they have decided it is time to go back to school.

Upcoming events and dates for the diary

Follow us at www.facebook.com/asianwealthmag

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From Bhoom to Branson THE MAN BEHIND BLAK PEARL MADE HEADLINES EARLIER THIS YEAR FOR BOOKING SIR RICHARD BRANSON TO DELIVER THE KEYNOTE SPEECH AT HIS EVENT, BUSINESS 2012. THE 24-YEAR-OLD VISHAL MISAL TALKED EXCLUSIVELY TO AWM ABOUT VISION, CONFIDENCE AND BOOKING BRANSON.

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Vishal Misal is a businessman that is intriguing and inspirational in equal measure. He has a very clear vision for his events company, Blak Pearl, and a strong work ethic. These two factors,

Vishal explains that he simply positions his events to his target keynote speakers in such a way that it falls within their strategic goals and objectives. “All entrepreneurs want to be seen as helping the general business community rather than an individual business, so I gave them the platform to have a wider impact and make a bigger difference to the entire business community, and that has been my pitch all along,” he says. Blak Pearl has only been operational for three years. It would be the natural plan for most start-up companies to begin on a smaller footing for a few years, and test the water before making a big splash with a huge event such as Business 2012. This approach does not fit Vishal’s plan, he has a clear vision and has learnt quickly. “One thing I’ve learnt and I have very quickly implemented is that in the events industry, if you want to be successful, your event has to be something your target audience cannot ignore. Being the biggest and being the best is a way of survival because there are thousands and thousands of events taking place all over the country.”

coupled with youthful enthusiasm to attracting keynote speakers for his conferences have made him an undeniable success at the age of 24. His most recent event, Business 2012, boasted appearances from entrepreneurs such as James Caan, Lord Alan Sugar and Sir Richard Branson. This last name was the one that, understandably, attracted the most attention and delegates to the business expo, held this past March in London. To persuade Sir Branson to be a part of a start-up event such as this was quite a coup, yet when questioned on his persuasive tactics to convince Sir Branson to take part, Vishal is coy, understated and speaks in a matter-of-fact manner that portrays his favourable naivety toward hierarchy.

Perhaps this survival instinct has to do with starting a business during a recession. The need to succeed quickly is very apparent in the way Vishal speaks. “It is a competitive market but there is not a barrier to entry in terms of events so the only way of surviving is to be number one,” he explains, with a nod back to his own reasons for starting in the events industry. “If you don’t have capital and if you don’t have a track record, just your offering has to be attractive enough that it excites all the right people. For example, to get Microsoft interested, to get Google interested, it has to be the best, and even for that matter to get Sir Branson’s attention.” When questioned about how he had the confidence, some might say audacity, to contact Sir Richard Branson’s business and pitch the idea to him, he retorts with the plain speaking one might expect from a hungry entrepreneur. “When you start off with nothing you feel that you can’t go below ground,” he says. “When you’re at the rock bottom you can only go up, there is nowhere else to go.”

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HUMBLE BEGINNINGS Vishal Misal was born in the small, close-knit community of Bhoom, in India. After leaving school he went to Pune University to study English Literature and graduated at 18. After graduation he took a job working as a research co-ordinator in Thailand, while working here he found out that he had been awarded a Presidential Scholarship, which is awarded to only 25 students in India. This allowed Vishal to study abroad for free. The students chosen had to have demonstrated a very strong academic record for the last five years and be from a part of India that has not been economically developed. “My father isn’t a wealthy guy. I couldn’t have studied on my own without the scholarship,” Vishal explains. His father, a furniture-maker, earns about £100 a month selling his pieces in the local market in Bhoom. Vishal chose to further his studies in the UK, at the University of Nottingham. Finishing sixth in his class studying international business, Vishal was one of the youngest to graduate with a distinction from the university, at the age of 20. “Business felt natural to me,” he says. “As much as I loved English Literature, business just felt so natural.”

even for the brightest students, was difficult and even more competitive than it would have been in less austere times. Vishal felt confident he could go it alone. “If the amount of effort I was putting into getting a job were the same as the amount of effort I was putting into my own business, I knew I could make a living out of it,” he says. With this in mind, and with the £250 left from his scholarship, Vishal registered his company, Blak Pearl. Having done some initial research he found that events were easy to fund because they do not involve a large capital investment to start them. “What I needed was a product I could sell without having to pay for it upfront. An event does not exist until the day. For example, if you need £10,000 to put an event on you don’t need the whole £10,000 at day one, you need it at the different stages of progress.” Vishal mapped out his initial business plan for the first event he organised, a session with a business coach for university students to advise them how to increase employability during the recession, a situation Vishal could personally relate to. The success of this initial event gave Vishal and his team the confidence to try to recreate the event but on a much bigger scale.

The audience at Business 2012

This love of business came, in part from his father, who was an early influence and inspiration to the young(er) Vishal. During his childhood, he had seen his father making deals at the local market and “learnt what it was to be an entrepreneur from childhood”. During his time in Thailand he worked for a healthcare products company called Noni. The head of the company was a great mentor to Vishal, Prof Dr Sir P I Peter. “He really inspired me to be an entrepreneur, I don’t think I was born to be an entrepreneur, but just to be in his presence and to see how fascinating his life was, I wanted to be just like him. I was a kid back then and it really had a deep impact on me” he says. It is this entrepreneurial spirit that stayed with Vishal throughout and after his studies at Nottingham. After graduation, Vishal had interviews at blue chip companies such as KPMG and Deloitte. However, graduating in the middle of the deepest global recession in living memory meant that gaining employment,

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The next person Vishal called was Brian Tracy, one of the world’s best leadership and management trainers. “I had made a little profit with the first event and then I put that profit into the next event, it was credit rolling but on a much bigger scale,” he explains. This event came to be known as ILSG 2010, standing for innovation, leadership, sales and growth. ILSG was the first event to attract the big ticket speakers that now help to stand Blak Pearl’s events out from their competitors. Business people such as Karren Brady, Ultimo’s Michelle Mone and James Caan were among the lineup, alongside Brian Tracy, and ExCel London was booked. Success off the back of this event inspired bigger events in 2011 and 2012.

VISION AND CHALLENGE Vishal’s vision toward his business model is unwavering, yet being a 24-year-old in charge of such huge events as that of its latest, Business 2012,


What advice would he like to have given himself three years ago, when this was his own situation? His answer is surprising. “It’s not all about money,” he says. “If your motive is to make money you will not succeed in business. One thing that has helped me massively is that I am very clear in my head that it is not the outcome that matters; it is me giving 110% to the last minute, that’s what matters.”

has some drawbacks. Being young was Vishal’s biggest challenge when he was starting out. “People don’t really think you’re up to it. They listen to what you have to say because they are being polite but really, when it comes down to serious participation and support, they are hesitant just because you are young and they want to see you prove yourself.” The swift rise to entrepreneurial success has also provided Vishal, and Blak Pearl, with some challenges. The company has grown too quickly. Today, it has three business divisions and three offices. Its founder talks about the need to remove himself from the day-to-day running of these businesses and find the time to make important strategic decisions. “Sometimes, being too close can blur your vision,” he says, which is the reason behind the company’s organisational restructure. A board of directors is being created so that Vishal can stand back a little but still act as chairman, in order to give direction to the overall strategy of the company. It is hard to believe that Vishal has only been in business for three years. He talks with the motivation and enthusiasm of a young man but has the common sense and vision of an entrepreneur twice his age and experience. He is a keen fan of physics and science documentaries he confides, as they “help you put things in perspective”.

Vishal became an entrepreneur in the middle of a long and dark recession, one that we’re still experiencing the effects of today. But he believed this should not stop those with a good business idea. “Funding is a hurdle, but as long as you have a strong reason behind what you want to do then you will find a creative solution to every problem,” he says. “Business is all about problem solving and anyone that has passion and drive, and a little bit of common sense, can find a solution, it is not rocket science. More than anything, I think the more clarity you have for your reasons behind the business, the easier it will be for you to get through the tough times. Sometimes intelligence has nothing to do with success or failure, its just getting through the hard, emotionally tough times that is more important.” The clarity that Vishal talks about is plain to see. Blak Pearl is going from strength to strength, the next event, Entrepreneurs 2012, is in November. How do you top Sir Richard Branson delivering the keynote speech at your last event? How about an ex-President of the United States? Bill Clinton will be appearing at his next event, something Vishal says is the next turning point for the business. Vishal Misal’s audacious rise to success must have taken a few observers by surprise. This softly-spoken 24-yearold has big dreams for the future; his achievements to date should not be underplayed, nor his vision doubted. Within three years he has created a company that has the business model to draw speakers that he finds inspirational, and it is without doubt that by the time Vishal is 34, it will be him delivering the inspirational words to the entrepreneurs of the future.

Many of his peers will still be trying to make a success of their business careers. AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) is one of the most important organisations you probably haven’t heard of. Born in Silicon Valley, USA, TiE has rapidly grown to become the world’s largest not-for-profit organisations promoting entrepreneurship.

HELPING HAND vikas shah, entrepreneur and vice-president of tie uk north, tells awm about this vital organisation, and its mission to help young and established business people to connect, grow and succeed.

The origins of our organisation go back to 1992 where a group of successful entrepreneurs, executives and professionals (all of whom with roots in the Indus region) came together to create an organisation to support and foster the next generation of entrepreneurs. The Asian diasporas have an immense influence in entrepreneurship globally, and these leaders felt that with an increasingly competitive world, they had a duty to put something back into the community to foster future success. The organisation is now far more diverse, helping entrepreneurs from all backgrounds - but the roots of Asian culture, and the lessons in success that brings, still exist. At the last count, our membership consisted of more than 13,000 individuals spanning 57 locations across 14 countries. That membership comprises of general members (the overwhelming majority who are a mix of entrepreneurs across many fields) together with charter members (exceptionally successful entrepreneurs who, by invitation, become mentors and give something back to the entrepreneurial community). A recent report showed our members were globally responsible for more than $200 billion of wealth creation. The United Kingdom is one of TiE’s most active regions. Here, we have two core chapters, TiE London and TiE UK North, which covers the major cities of England’s North West including Manchester and Liverpool. Here, we deliver a range of core activities: Mentoring: This is the real heart of what we do. Our invited network of charter members comprise a swathe of the most experienced and successful entrepreneurs in the UK. Through TiE, these individuals give their time to mentor and develop the next generation of business leaders. The people we

mentor are diverse in age, background and industry and there are numerous success stories. In Manchester, our vice-president of mentoring, Walli Ullah, has helped a solar energy entrepreneur go from start-up (in fact, from just thinking ‘I want to start a business’) to generating more than £20 million in sales in just under three years. Another recent success story is how TiE mentoring helped a certain young events entrepreneur fight off multinational competition to win the contract to execute the UK’s largest entrepreneurial conference, with speakers including Sir Richard Branson. For more information on Vishal Misal’s story see page 8. We also work closely with universities in this regard, having recently partnered with Manchester Metropolitan University mentoring high-growth entrepreneurs who have come through their entrepreneur education programme (held in conjunction with Goldman Sachs). Education: Another core pillar of our activities is education. TiE runs frequent lectures and workshops with key partners through the TiE Institute. These programmes bring in key speakers to deliver education around the vast range of topics in entrepreneurship. Last year, for example, TiE UK North spearheaded a lecture campaign which spanned Manchester, London and Brussels covering topics ranging from branding & marketing to corporate finance, business planning, corporate social responsibility and much more. TiE London recently launched a joint programme with the British Library where entrepreneurs can utilise the state-of-the-art facilities and have access to an on-site mentor. Our platform also extends to schools where our TYE (Tie Young Entrepreneurs) programme engages school-age children in thinking about business as a career option. Events and networking: When in business, it is critically important to surround yourself with a social ecosystem of entrepreneurs. Our events range from keynote-led conferences AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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Inspiring Quotes & Anecdotes I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. - Michael Jordan

As long as you’re going to think anyway, think big. -Donald Trump

Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it... Success is shy – it won’t come out while you’re watching. - Tennessee Williams

(where we have had speakers including Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn and Marty Cooper, the inventor of the mobile phone) to more intimate networking and social events where our members get to meet and interact with entrepreneurs and professionals ranging from start-up to CEO level. Funding: We are currently working on the roll-out of TiE Global Deal Connect (GDC) which is a platform that matches investors with opportunities around the world. Every TiE chapter generates a significant volume of deal activity, and GDC will allow our many thousands of investors and start-ups to connect and seek opportunities in a reviewed and managed environment. Philanthropy: No business organisation can exist without taking corporate social responsibility seriously. TiE in the UK openly welcomes charity leaders to get involved in all our activities. An environment of like-minded individuals has also created some amazing charity successes. In 2010, a team of our TiE members ran 10km in 10 countries in five days, and raised over £140,000 for NSPCC (an achievement which earned them an invitation to Buckingham Palace to receive an award from the Countess of Wessex). TiE is about creating a support network for entrepreneurs at all levels. In my own experience, I joined as a general member around six years ago and found the networking events to be a great way of making new social contacts with business peers. Over the years, I’ve become increasingly involved with the organisation and after being invited to become a charter member I have had the opportunity to mentor some of the most exciting start-up businesses in the country. I also deliver an international lecture programme which I have written to help entrepreneurs think differently about aspects of business. Looking back to when I started my first company (at just 14 years old), I’m convinced that had I been engaged with an organisation like TiE, it would have brought me a lot of support and benefit. Being involved with TiE has generated real value for me as a person, and for my business, and I now genuinely find that my network has the capacity to help me deliver the ideas I have... and isn’t that, after all, why we’re entrepreneurs to start with?

Want to get involved with TiE? Here’s how... If you want to get in touch with TiE in and around London, have a look at http://uk.tie.org.

Well done is better than well said. -Benjamin Franklin

If you want to get in touch with TiE in the North-West of England, have a look at http://uknorth.tie.org. Both of these websites also carry full details of the exciting upcoming events in the region. Vikas Shah is the founder of Thought Strategy, a consultancy that provides strategic solutions to give its clients the thought-advantage.

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THE

BIG Debate

Question: Does a private school education matter in this day and age?

If I had to choose I would chose private. It depends on the child though, all are different. There is a trade off between both, but I would definitely say the positives are with the private, especially in this day and age. The environment you bring your child up in are key for 70% of kids.

YES

Financial Risk Specialist

In short I think private is better for academic advancement, the teaching is more 1-2-1 and there is a real push for high standards. I knew a couple of guys in my school and they got no less than nine A*s and the rest As, (this is when I think GCSEs were harder) they were educated in a non-private system, in fact they were of ethnic background and up until they were seven it is most likely their first language wasn’t English. I think also universities (especially ‘Red Brick’ ones) may be biased towards private education because of the perceived higher standards.

Insurance Underwriter

An intelligent individual is more likely to excel further in private school than public school if all other things are equal. Standards and expectations are higher. However, achieving great grades at school doesn’t necessarily mean great success in life.

Investment Banker

There is a serious lack of discipline in schools today, teachers are reluctant to mentally push children due to the “nanny state” and classroom sizes have increased greatly in size. However, most importantly there is a basic lack of actual teaching at an early age or later on, schools encourage ‘free play’ where children are left to do what they want in early school life. Many children cannot hold a pencil or write until the age of five or six, in private schools this is a requirement from near enough the age of three. They are taught numeracy to a high level from five or six onwards. Homework is also given from the start of their school life. The important aspect is that it will set them up for education in later life, through to university and beyond. Although many people may write and say state school was fine for me, it makes you ready for ‘the real world’, there is a significant change in the level of teaching from when they went to school and the teaching in today’s state schools and private schools. I was shocked at the attitude most state schools have towards education in 2012.

Hedge Fund Accounting Director

Our world has moved on at a tremendous pace in the last quarter century. In the UK now, our economy is geared around enterprise and entrepreneurship. In this sense, private schooling, in my opinion, really does not have a bearing on future success. I have lectured and visited many schools around the UK and frankly I have found that with the mixture of schools and enterprise academies, there are education opportunities for young people which far outweigh the somewhat old-school mentality of having a private school on your CV.

NO

Entrepreneur

Private schooling may have some advantages, however the best resource for a successful education is a family environment which places importance on education, where an interest is taken in sharing educational experiences (both good and bad) with their children, and parents take the time to understand their children’s strengths and weaknesses. Parents working together with teachers/schools to improve upon these experiences and finding ways to make learning more enjoyable for each individual child is indispensible. No private or public school alone in any day and age will provide children the encouragement and support they need from the people who know them the best: their parents!

Compliance Officer (Financial Services Firm)

I believe children have the capacity to learn if given the right environment which doesn’t necessarily have to be a privileged environment – children in developing countries, in the past and even now, have to contend with challenges they face in life but at the same time manage to attend school and make lives for themselves. If young people are given the opportunities to develop and grow inside and outside school this should create a balanced learning experience providing key subject knowledge for relevant/chosen professions but also life experience. Therefore it is imperative that the school they attend and parents work together to support their children’s learning and generate motivation, drive to succeed and achieve. In my experience I have seen young people from privileged backgrounds that were forced by their parents’ expectations to achieve particular professions. These young people presented with symptoms of depression, general unhappiness and lack of motivation, and on one occasion an eating disorder. They were fearful that their parents would find out they were using services to help them cope. Two young people in particular wanted to pursue professions in the arts and crafts but were unable to because their parents expected them to be lawyers or doctors. If these young people are to grow up and run our country then they need to have a balanced perspective and experience of life which sometimes is not offered in the ‘bubble’ of private school education.

Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist

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MAN

behind the THE NAME MISTIQUE EVENTS IS SYNONYMOUS WITH THE CREATION OF SPECTACULAR PARTIES, AND LATTERLY SOPHISTICATED EVENTS. AWM TALKS TO ITS FOUNDER, BHAVESH PATEL ABOUT LIFE, SUCCESS AND STRUGGLE, IN A BID TO FIND THE MAN BEHIND THE MAGIC.

MAGIC

Business at Mistique Events is booming. The core offering centres on event design, decor and production for the wedding, celebration and corporate market. To accommodate this growth, Bhavesh Patel (Bav to his friends) tells me about his most recent and daring purchase, a large disused warehouse that he believes will allow the business to reach its potential and satisfy demand. The challenge is that currently the warehouse is a shell, but Bav tells me he has the vision to see the future of his business there. The motto for Mistique Events is ‘the only limit is your imagination’, and it is this mantra, he says, that has made his business work from its inception Bav, 44, works hard to fulfil what he calls the “business triangle”– the three points being price, quality and fulfilment. Yet with so many competitors on the market, how does he differentiate the Mistique business from the many pretenders to the “Party King” throne. According to Bav, it is all about encouraging the client to feel comfortable and creative. “I’ve always thought from day dot, do not limit your boundaries, keep your space as freedom and that way people can relax and let their minds be free to express what they need to express,” he explains. Bav does not believe in creating identikit events or celebrations; everyone has individual tastes and budget, he says, and it is the role of Mistique Events to tailor the event to suit each personality. Building a relationship with his clients is imperative to Bav. He uses the word “experience” to describe this partnership; from the moment they walk in the door for the first time to the minute the event ends. This word,

experience, connotes more than just putting on a good party. “It’s not just a matter of having a conversation over the telephone, throwing out a few quotes and saying ‘can we have a thousand pound deposit please’. It’s a matter of encouraging clients to come and see us and see how we operate. We give them confidence that if they are going to spend their money with Mistique Events they can be reassured that we have the resources and logistics to fulfil their dreams.” It is these resources and logistics that set Mistique apart from its competitors, says Bav. In the 10 years that Mistique Events has been in business, it has never been asked for a refund, he boasts. And its not just professionalism that keeps clients walking through the door. Approximately 70- 80% of Mistique’s new business is by referral, and this is because of the creativity that Bav and his team bring to each event. For example, eight years ago he introduced the concept of fish bowl centrepieces for dinner tables, at the time that had not been done before. Since then, the concept has been copied many times. Imitators do not worry Bav. He says he is flattered that his concepts get copied and he is not concerned by would-be clients taking his design concepts to his competitors. His philosophy is that there are imitators and there are creators, and Bav falls firmly into the latter category. He is confident his design concepts will keep inspiring others, he says, and he will keep taking inspiration from all around him. “I will never stop learning and am here to learn,” he says. “Be it from a child or be it from an adult, I always keep my ears and eyes open. It is about keeping an open mind.” AsianWealthMag.co.uk || 17 AsianWealthMag.co.uk


A LONG JOURNEY Bav’s client roster includes international companies such as Estée Lauder, Marks & Spencer, Adidas, Hilton and CocaCola. This impressive line-up, coupled with the steady growth of the firm, must give Bav comfort that he has made a success of his event business. However, the life of an entrepreneur means “you never know where your next dime is coming from”. The drive to succeed is inherent in him. This, he says, is from watching his parents struggle when he was a child.

Events designed by Mistique Events

Bhavesh Patel came to the UK when he was a child. His parents fled from Uganda in 1971 when the iron grip of the country’s dictator president, Idi Amin, forced approximately 30,000 Asians to move to Britain. Suryakant and Sharda Patel, of Guajarati descent, worked in the family general store while in east Africa. They were happy there and had a close support network, but when Amin’s regime took power by force they were just two of the many thousands of refugees that were forced to move to the UK, and, with their two young children, start life again from scratch. The Patel family moved in with an uncle in the south London area of Bermondsey. There they stayed for three years, adjusting to the UK and establishing a family routine for Bhavesh and his older sister Hema. Subsequently, they moved to council accommodation in Battersea and found jobs, Suryakant working as a bus conductor and Sharda working at the local electronics factory. Witnessing his parents’ struggle to establish themselves in the UK was the best motivation, Bav says. Seeing the kind of barriers they had to cross to provide a financially stable family life left a big impression. “I still drive down to certain parts of London where we used to live and I have flashbacks of what it was like there and the feelings that are conjured up there will never disappear until the day I die, it is always at the back of my mind,” he says. Not being able to have the same privileges as his school friends taught the young Bav a very important lesson; that money matters. “Even in those days there was a lot of racial tension

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just because of your colour of the skin. But that gave you the drive to want to stand out amongst the crowd. I saw the difficulties my parents had and I wanted to take them out of that equation and you can only do that with financial power,” he explains. The young Bav went to school in Battersea; easily distracted from the academic world, he soon found a fascination for art and graphic design. He studied business and finance at Hammersmith and West College while working a part time job to take some of the financial burden from his parents’ shoulders. On leaving college Bav worked in a newsagency in the City of London, but “always felt like he had a bit more to offer”. He continued to work at his day job for 18 months before an idea struck him that would navigate his path in life to this day; a simple balloon. The concept of sending balloons on “Hallmark holidays” such as Valentine’s Day had really thrived in the US, and on doing some research into the UK market, the 19-year-old Patel found that there were not many suppliers to this growing market. “Twenty years ago balloons were a big concept as a decoration at events and was very big promotional tool at the time for corporate events. You could have your logo branded, and it became very cost effective to physically give out balloons to children or adults. It made a statement because you could do it in bold colours,” he explains. At this point he wasn’t trying to make money from this, just trying to create a concept and “a buzz” in the market. And it worked. Word in the community got around about using balloons at parties and weddings and very soon the idea became more common place. Buoyed by his success, Bav started to organise parties for the Asian market – predominantly on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and summer balls. Bav would book the hotel, the music and sell tickets – a simple party planning strategy. From this, he made a healthy profit and fell in love with the idea of “being around happy people”. These parties soon became annual “must attend” events and Bav went


NEVER PANIC, IT DOESN’T SOLVE ANYTHING.

Concurrent to the party planning (Mistique Promotions as was), Bav’s balloons were still a strong concept. Balloon Expressions, as the business was then called, was doing well and inspired Bav’s strong model for décor. He was soon asked to create bigger and more challenging balloon sculptures, and found his love of art came to the fore. “The balloon side of things gave me a lot of creativity and a good idea of the mechanics of how to create that framework, the logistics behind

from booking small hotels to 3,000 capacity venues such as London’s Paragon Hotel, Bagleys Studios and even Langham Hilton, which Bav signed an exclusive deal with to arrange the Christmas Eve Ball, an event he would continue to organise for the following eight years. A similar agreement was made with The Roof Gardens (London) for the Annual Summer Ball. In subsequent years, Bav’s parties became mini concerts with headline acts such as Beverly Knight, Destiny’s Child, Usher, 112 and Dru-Hill.

it and how to anchor things.” It is this knowledge, learned many years ago, that still stands Bav in good stead today when creating more elaborate design concepts. As the balloon business was taking off, literally, Bav was still working from home in the south London suburb of Streatham, still his home today, to keep overheads down. His success meant he was able to quit his job at the newsagency and focus his attention full time on the business. The passion had always been to own a party shop, Patel explains, it was something he just “wanted to get out of his system” he says. This dream came to fruition when Bav made the biggest financial commitment of his life. As a confident 26-year-old he bought the freehold of a large retail and residential unit on Fulham Palace Road in west London. Here, his dream of creating a physical base for his party business started, but first, he had to find the cash. Bav points to this moment as the turning point in his success. It is the

biggest risk he has taken to date, as the hammer dropped at the auction house he had to hand over £22,000 required for the deposit. He could only hope that with focus and hard work it would pay off. Sitting in Bav’s office today, at the heart and creative home of Mistique Events, it is clear that this decision was the right one for the young entrepreneur with a big dream. “I had never been to an auction in my life,” he says with a smile, “I didn’t know what I was doing!” He describes this moment as the biggest risk he has ever taken but also the biggest stepping stone. “It was a very nerve wrecking position to be in, especially at the auction walking away, thinking ‘OK, I’ve just committed £22,000 pounds as a 10% deposit’. Even today, that is a lot of money, but I believe what is meant to be, will be.” Bav struggled to raise the funds; the banks did not consider his party shop idea as a viable risk for them. Eventually, with the clock ticking, he agreed a deal that saw him pay AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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extortionate rates for a loan. But eventually the deal was done and Expressions (having dropped the Balloon part of the name for now) opened to the public. This brave leap was the turning point in Bav’s success. In his mind it wass not bravery, but a calculated risk. You have to consider the consequences to each action, he tells me. Calculated risk can give you an edge to reach your next goal, and when you have the financial freedom to take those risks it becomes more of a challenge to succeed than the potential demise of your business. Running the shop and expanding the growing Mistique Promotions, Bav started to feel trapped by the four walls of the shop. After five years in the same location and, after months of bargaining, bought the small warehouse we now sit in, in 2004. And after eight years, the time is right to move again, to a property large enough to accommodate his ever growing business. And Bav’s imagination just keeps getting bigger and bolder. He bought the dilapidated warehouse space in August 2011 and is in the process of creating the right kind of atmosphere for his business. The space in his current warehouse location has come to a standstill, he explains, and to grow he needs to create the right space to show clients products and scenarios (including the goldfish) for their event. This is part of growing his business strategy during this long and tough recession. While many companies are making redundancies and cutting back their marketing budgets, corporate events are also victim to those wielding the budgetary knife. Bav knows most of his competitors do not have the ability to create this kind of offering for their clients. “It is a matter of seeing what the future has in store; a lot of people have said to me, this is not the right time to buy a property, maybe not. For me it is.” It is clear when talking to Bav, a committed Hindu, that the philosophical part of this successful entrepreneur can influence his business decisions. “God is my inspiration and my only strength AsianWealthMag.co.uk 20 || AsianWealthMag.co.uk


as he has opened doors for me and my family without any compromise,” he says. Perhaps this mantra is what drives him to take such calculated risks? “It has not been easy to raise finance, but it is about taking the plunge and I am a true believer that I came into this life with nothing and I’ll leave this life with nothing.” Is there a time he would consider selling Mistique Events? I ask him. “Absolutely,” he says. “I have always

status as one of the biggest sacrifices he has made for his business success. He had the opportunity to marry, but his ambitions to “make something of himself” led him to focus on business opportunities instead. “I won’t say I have regretted it, it was just the way things happened at the time and I was focused on what I wanted to achieve. I was possibly on to something with the business, and failure for me was not an option.” Bav defines success as respect, and believes he has earned the respect of

for entrepreneurial success is that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. “Life is a big journey,” he says. “If you want something you have got to take that first step, if you are just going to be on the sidelines now, then you are going to be on the sidelines for the rest of your life.” With so many opportunities for Mistique Events to grow, and with the unwavering focus of Bav Patel behind the steering wheel, it seems that the sidelines are never going to be an option for this entrepreneur.

Images by Sanjay Jogia or Eye Jogia Photography (eyejogia.com)

thought that a good catering company would be a good business to purchase us, because they have a great client base coming through their doors, it’s an automatic sell on.”

SUCCESS AND SACRIFICE Bav is an intriguing mix of sharp business focus and philosophical consideration. He is also searingly honest. It is ironic that the man behind so many wedding celebrations is unmarried. Bav cites his unmarried

his competitors and clients after years of involvement in the business. Respect is imperative for any entrepreneur, but when asked which he would rather have; money or success, Bav is once again very open. “Money” he answers immediately. “Without money you can’t do anything. Some people say that money isn’t important but I think that money reflects success.”

BAV’S CHECKLIST FOR SUCCESS

Bav has found the financial freedom that he strived for growing up. Yet his attitude toward his path in life sheds light on a softer side. One of his mottos

• Believe in yourself

• Never panic, it doesn’t solve anything • Persevere, don’t give up at the first hurdle • Never rent a property, always buy • Take time for reflection • Be nice, people remember it

www.mevents.co.uk AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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WEB GAME

In his first column for awm, Shaz Memon, creative director of the digital marketing agency DIGIMAX, explains how the use of purchase beacons can improve your marketing investment

LIGHT THE WAY TO A BETTER MARKETING MESSAGE

When considering marketing for your business, the question should never be whether good design is worth the cost, but rather what bad design can cost you.

neighbour, your spouse, or your coworker? Probably not. When making a choice on whether to buy a TV from a website, everyone will have different things they are looking out for, such as:

We often encounter new clients who feel they have been active in marketing their business, yet almost always admit to nagging doubts about the depth of their marketing, feeling that business should be better and the return on their marketing investment should be far greater.

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

Considering that marketing spend can encompass hugely diverse efforts such as website design, newspaper adverts, leaflets, signage design, affiliate marketing, partnership marketing and more – the real question may be: Is your design and message limiting your reach or is it providing superior appeal to an ever-widening audience? If you hesitate answering that question, then consider something that I like to call ‘purchase beacons’. This powerful marketing concept tool is something I believe in and use successfully for businesses of all sizes. It’s simple to apply to your business marketing plan and is a practical approach that delivers a focused consumer response. For example, let’s take an online ecommerce store selling televisions. As a buyer – what are you looking for when you prepare to make or research a purchase? And will your buyer needs match those of your best friend, your

Price Ease of refund Warranty Established company Speed of delivery Choice Company location Telephone number Advice line Reviews Awards Accreditations Website security/encryption.

These are the purchase beacons that can lure visitors to and into your business website. Every visitor has several elements from the list above in mind and will mentally tick off when they are greeted with their personal purchase beacons. The visitor is gathering purchase beacons as they move through your website, feeling more reassured about their decision to purchase with every purchase beacon they encounter. In order to ‘convert’ your website visitors into actual clients/purchasers, we need to apply and make visible as many purchase beacons as possible in the main real estate of your website’s homepage (the immediately visible top half). Every website visitor is only one click away from hopping to the next site, so everything must be done to make it easy for visitors to see and AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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become excited about this critical ‘selling’ info. You may have a designer that can create a website that looks attractive and sleek, but is there also marketing knowledge that is being powerfully applied and integrated into the design? Spectacular design that carries an explosive and alluring marketing message is a blended philosophy that needs to be applied to every bit of marketing material you produce. Whatever your industry, your message needs to be clear, crisp, and concise, with key purchase beacons lighting the way to attract and reassure the largest majority of your consumer audience. Before you make any new marketing decisions, first step into the shoes of your target audience, and then list everything that might affect someone’s decision to purchase. Next, pin point the things that you believe could make or break someone’s ability to make a purchase decision. Transfer these points to a new list which will be the basis for precise purchase beacon marketing messages. The final polish to your new,

breakthrough marketing is to invest in a designer that is an experienced, expert marketer capable of transforming your purchase beacon messages into a potent design reality. A national survey of firms conducted by The Design Council identified where the use of design had made a direct impact on such things as competitiveness, market share and turnover. Calling these businesses “design alert”, they found that for every £100 a ‘design alert’ business spent on design, increased turnover by £255. “Businesses that see design as integral don’t need to compete on price as much as others. Where design is integral, less than half of businesses compete mainly on price, compared to two-thirds of those who don’t use design.” Your marketing message needs to communicate to the internal and external purchase points every consumer carries in their head. The focus needs to be on communication first and quantity of message distribution second. If you produce 50,000 leaflets without the right

@

purchase beacons that capture consumer interest it will fall short of your marketing goals. Compare this to 10,000 leaflets that grab interest, reassure buyers, and support a confident decision to acquire through well-presented purchase beacons. To determine how to engage your target audience and make your key purchase beacons as dynamic as possible, identify the following things: • My target audience • The one most valuable piece of information they desire • The most important question they might ask about my product or service • Elements that directly encourage conversion Use the expertise available from your designer or agency to brainstorm and together create powerful marketing that delivers your message successfully – throughout all your marketing efforts. www.digimax.co.uk

The

GALLERIES

www.wyecliffe.com Shane McCoubrey’s original paintings now exhibiting at The Wyecliffe Galleries 01932 847 939

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Every second counts Dr Hamendra Patel is a busy working GP. After many failed attempts, he believes he has found the magic formula to finding more time in his day. Here, he tells AWM his secret to finding those elusive hidden seconds.

Recently, I have been asking myself: “how can I extract more juice from the day?� My job is busy and the day is long, I wish there were more hours in it. As busy working professionals, I am sure most of us will have a similar thought from time to time. This need for more time has led me to think which elements make a good day for me, and which make a bad one. Of course we are all different people and will work and think differently, however, I think there are certain principles that anyone could apply to help them get more efficiency out of their working lives.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD DAY? Over the years I have found that there are certain key elements that help me stay focused. Most of these will work for anyone, and I would urge you to

find your best fit. To start with, let me explain the importance of healthy living. A good day starts with a good night, which means a good night’s sleep (if possible). My wife and I have a new-born baby and a four-year-old, so I call these variables beyond my control, as a prolonged period of sleep is sometimes hard to find. I am sure many of you reading this will be able to relate to this situation either now or from memory. From my own point of view, another important element that contributes to my efficiency is exercise. Again, this is not always possible, but where I can, I squeeze 15 minutes in the morning. The effect of this endorphin release in the brain makes us feel good. Never underestimate the importance of the first meal of the day: breakfast. AsianWealthMag.co.uk | 25


Ideally I eat slow release energy foods (wholegrain toast or cereal), so bacons and eggs are strictly reserved for the days when I am not working. Regular small meals in a timely fashion are also key. A bad day is when I have my lunch at 3pm. I drink plenty of water and have a healthy energy food, such as a banana, at 10.30 am. I have done this for years. For me, I see a list of 18 patients in the morning and 10.30 am is around half way through them. I have found it focuses my concentration for the second half of my morning.

EFFECTIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY Next, think about your work environment. This may be pivotal to finding your fullest efficiency. Think about where and how you are likely to get the best out of yourself dependent on your task. A creative task may benefit from music and sensory stimulations, and as such, a business or academic brain may need concentration in a quiet room. Distraction is a devil! When we have tasks that we do not want to do, it is easy to sort out emails that suddenly become extremely urgent, photographs that need re-organising right that second, and 101 other things that will lure you away from your main aim. Remain focused on the task in hand and carry on. One of the keys to working effectively for me is to break up my day into three timeframes of roughly three to four hours each in the morning, afternoon and evening. Depending on the task I break up the three hour window into one hour slots. I then roughly define what I want from that window as it is easy to fill out any task you have to the time available. The brain can only concentrate at peak performance for limited time period, any more than this and effectiveness will go down. So I usually allow a five to 10 minute break in that hour to make a cup of tea or get up and have a stretch. If I am at home then I will often use that time to do tasks around the home such as empty the

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bin/do the recycling/load unload the washing machine or dishwasher. Just sitting there for hours at a time, if it is desk/computer-based, is counterproductive and we have to remind and train ourselves not to do it. In fact, the more important the work/task is, the more important I have found it is keep practising this routine. It is very important to understand yourself. Ask yourself; what triggers can cause lapses in concentration? When you are at your most efficient? Know your tasks and use this understanding to order them in your day. For me, I work most efficiently and I am more creative first thing in the morning. So the 8am-12pm timeframe is the one I would use for tasks that are important, difficult or need me to be creative. The worst for me is after lunch. Therefore I tend to relax in this period and if I have work then I usually set aside tasks that I do not need to concentrate too much on, such as admin.

MOTIVATION, ANCHORS AND DEVELOPING MENTAL RESILIENCE I have read a lot of articles in which the author tells me about how to become better at doing things. A lot of it is simple technique, but the crucial bit is developing good habits and trying to stick to them. This is where I feel the mind-set is crucial. Find out what motivates you and then visualise that target or goal. For me, it may be something as simple as watching a DVD, highlights of a football match, or playing with my kids. It really does not matter what it is, but it should create good feelings mentally which motivate you to work smarter to get the job done. I used to love smoking, and I stopped in 2006. I have not smoked a cigarette since. I have often been asked if I fancied one. To which I reply, “Yes, I do, but I am not going to have one�. My anchor for this was my children. I stopped prior to my wife having our first child. I visualised mental images of seeing my children growing up and me being healthy enough to be around for their key milestones as

they got older. This was and remains an extremely powerful tool for me not smoking another cigarette. As much as I have fond memories of smoking, this anchor is a far more powerful feeling. Developing good habits and mental resilience go hand in hand for me. I would not expect to get on a bike and ride it for the first time and so practice makes perfect. Of course we will all have stressful and busy periods in our lives and sometimes we must accept that despite our best efforts, we will have a bad day/period. It is about using some of these skills acquired through good habits that we can shake off these periods and be more effective. The key to becoming more effective is to understand yourself, how you work at your most efficient, and the task at hand. Think about how you work and then tailor the principles to your time and mind-set to get the best out of your working day. Above all, develop good habits and keep practicing.


Mistique Events is one of the UK’s leading creative event companies.

Event Design | Decor | Production

We’re a design & production company with over 15 years’ experience in putting on fabulous events across the country. Specialising in transforming standard venues into spectacular settings with the use of planning, management, lighting, theming, staging and decor. We pride ourselves on delivering truly memorable events for you and your guests. Our range of services are designed so we can tailor your special event from start to finish, to meet your own particular requirements and budget without compromise. From an intimate celebration to a themed banquet for thousands, we are passionate and dedicated to creating a truly unique experience that will take your breath away...in fact, the only limit is your imagination.

AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

To arrange a meeting please contact our sales team on 0208 664 1133. Alternatively visit our interactive website.

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MEVENTS.CO.UK


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April 2012

the

ADVANTAGE HERE AT AWM WE AIM TO INSPIRE ENTREPRENEURS AND REVEAL THE SECRETS OF SUCCESS. THEREFORE, IN OUR INAUGURAL ISSUE WE LOOK AT WHAT DRIVES BRITISH ASIANS, AND INVESTIGATE THE ASIAN PHENOMENON OF MAKING A FORTUNE. ELLIE PARSONS INVESTIGATES.

I

n a recent interview, the north London-born actor Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire fame admitted, “There was a point in my career when I hadn’t been working for a year. I was absolutely at rock bottom. It was dark and depressing.” But now look at him living it up in Los Angeles and dating his beautiful co-star, Freida Pinto. Like actors, entrepreneurs invariably go through rejection before reaching their peak. Dr Spinder Dhaliwal, a senior lecturer in entrepreneurship at Surrey University and author of Making a Fortune: Learning from the Asian Phenomenon, has interviewed many Asian talents who have fought to get where they are. For example, Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, was born in India and came to the UK to study at Cambridge. He wanted to make a lager that complemented Indian food and struck a deal with Mysore Breweries in India to produce his beers, which were imported to the

UK. At that time, India was not known for its beer, despite this Cobra slowly became established. He would walk into Indian restaurants with a crate of beer and sell it directly to the owner. However, Lord Bilimoria is just one of many business people that have suffered in the recession, losing a lot of money and equity in his company. Then there are the many, many success stories. Dinesh Dhamija, founder of online travel agent ebookers, sold it in 2002, making £9.5 million from his shares. Yoganathan Ratheesan, CEO of low-cost international mobile service Lebara Group, is today estimated to be worth more than half a billion pounds. DRIVERS FOR SUCCESS With the annual rich lists increasingly full of successful British Asian entrepreneurs, many observers must be asking, what motivates Asians to succeed? Is there an Asian advantage? If so, what is it? AsianWealthMag.co.uk www.asianwealth.co.uk 29 |

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Dr Dhaliwal believes that ultimately, it comes down to background, and what she calls the “immigration drive”. “Originally Asians came to Britain in the 1960s and 1970s when there were very few career choices and lowerpaid jobs, so the aim was to get higher incomes and to survive. They wanted to afford to educate their children and to make money to send back to India and Pakistan. Now a lot has changed, they’re global players of hi-tech businesses.”

Dr Spinder Dhaliwal

Dr Dhaliwal’s own parents ran a corner shop, working from 6am to 10pm, and she credits them with giving her a work ethic. Her “immigration drive” theory rings true with entrepreneur Sarju Naker, who is part-owner of private members’ club The Dorsia in London’s Kensington. “Knowing how tough my grandfather’s life was as a child in India and how hard it was for him to start up his textile mills in Tanzania, where he migrated to, has helped me understand that no matter how difficult a business situation might be, he had been through much harder times and he always came through smiling and stronger.” Of course, they are not all rags to riches stories and there are other factors that inspire people to start a business – money for one, as well as providing employment and investing in an attractive, imaginative idea. But evidence does seem to suggest that Asians are particularly adept at business. The combined value of the 101 wealthiest Asians in the world in 2011 stood at £42 billion. Dr Dhaliwal explains that this phenomenon is partly due to the fact that enterprise is celebrated in Asia. “Anyone can be successful out there but there is a cultural element, which is a combination of immigration drive and coming from a culture where wealth is something to be proud of. Asians are born negotiators – we want to win on every deal,” she says, adding that her theory may not be as relevant to third generation British-born Asians climbing up the ranks. “The younger generation don’t have the same survival instinct. They’ve had money and education – they’re not as hungry.” Some would disagree with this statement. There are sparky young

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guns increasingly using technology and the internet to start their own businesses at relatively little cost. For example, 24-year-old Amman Ahmed from Manchester has launched EasySleepMusic.com where people can download music to help them sleep. Asian women are also becoming entrepreneurs in their own right and getting their voices heard – this is an age where the CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi, is Indian-born. Statistics indicate that Muslim women are beginning to outperform their male counterparts in education, and increasingly, in earning potential. And according to the Equal Opportunities Commission, 47% of young Bangladeshi women and 52% of young Pakistani women in professional occupations aspire to be their own boss. Dr Dhaliwal explores the role of women in her book Silent Contributors: Asian Female Entrepreneurs and Women in Business and believes traditional attitudes that hold women back are being modernised. “Some women married into the family business and had to stand in the shop for 16 hours a day, but now they are starting their own businesses. I find women don’t take enough credit for what they do – they tend to defer to men but that’s changing,” she says.

TENACITY THROUGH TOUGH TIMES For today’s entrepreneurs, it is a competitive world in which the recession has hit hard and taken UK employment and in some cases, opportunity, with it. However, the contribution of ethnic minority small- and medium-sized businesses is vital to help lift the country out of recession. Asian entrepreneurs are using their international networks just like Lord Bilimoria did with Cobra, and they’re jumping on the opportunity to buy other businesses and expand, such as Mike Jatania of Lornamead, a manufacturer with offices in Surrey that has acquired soap and skincare brands in the past year.


There is a host of British Asian shining lights, among them Dev Patel who eventually cracked Hollywood. But with success comes failure and in business it is as much the ability of individuals to get over the hurdles as it is about making millions. “When I wrote my book the most surprising thing was the amount of hard work that went into starting a business,” explains Dr Dhaliwal. “Behind every success story I heard about the amount of times people had failed and nearly lost everything and picked themselves up again.” Remember Lord Bilimoria of Cobra? His company went into administration in 2009, reportedly leaving £70m in unpaid debts to creditors, but it has since been restructured. Molson Coors now owns a 50.1% stake in the business and Cobra, which now brews in Staffordshire, made a profit last year in the UK after 20 years. For its marketing campaign there’s a sexy new TV advertisement featuring a train travelling through India with a fashion blogger, lifestyle writer and musical duo aboard and the tag-line “Splendidly Indian, superbly smooth”. The tale of Cobra is one of motivation, perseverance and hard work and it shows that no business can afford to rest on its laurels. Perhaps this is the Asian advantage? DR SPINDER DHALIWAL’S FIVE TIPS FOR BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS 1 Understand your market 2 Know your competitors 3 Target your customers 4 Work hard and be prepared to fall down and pick yourself up 5 Use and develop your networks

Dr Spinder Dhaliwal is the author of Making a Fortune: Learning from the Asian Phenomenon (£14.99, Capstone) visit makingafortune.co.uk

MAKING A FORTUNE: Learning from the Asian Phenomenon (Capstone) “THE PERSONAL STORIES BEHIND SOME OF THE UK’S MOST SUCCESSFUL ASIAN BUSINESSMEN MAKE FOR FASCINATING READING. I’M SO GLAD THAT MY GOOD FRIEND AND HOTEL BUSINESS PARTNER, SURINDER ARORA, TAKES HIS RIGHTFUL PLACE AMONG THEM.”

Sir Cliff Richard For two decades, entrepreneurs have been eulogised in the popular press. At a time when real heroes are hard to find, it is the entrepreneur, the dynamic go-getting risk taker, who has become the hero of free enterprise. At the cutting edge of the British entrepreneurial community are the Asian businesses featured in Making a Fortune: Learning from the Asian Phenomenon.

illustrates the triumphs and challenges facing these individuals, how disasters were overcome and how they fought against the odds to be outstanding role models for anyone interested in business or making money. She tells a story of grit and determination to succeed, and draws out the lessons so anyone, whether budding or existing entrepreneurs, Asian or not, can learn from these amazing individuals.

It takes in businesses from manufacturing to finance, from food to hotels, from pharmaceuticals to fashion. It includes first-, second- and third-generation achievers. It provides the definitive guide to ‘who’s who’ in the Asian business world.

If nothing else, this book is testament to the diversity of Asian talent in the UK. As well as diversity there is also change. Perhaps the era of the privately owned Asian business is coming to an end. These businesses have raised millions in new capital despite the harshest of climates.

At the end of The Producers, Mel Brooks asks ‘where did we go right?’ Spinder Dhaliwal asked herself the same question at the start of this book. If the results of these entrepreneurs were achieved in decades full of challenge and controversy, the past few years have been no different: sluggish economic growth, stock market uncertainty and question marks about the housing market provide the starkest of economic backdrops to this compendium of Asian success.

Featured entrepreneurs include: Shami Ahmed and family (Juice Corporation) Surinder Arora (Arora Group) Lord Karan Bilimoria (Cobra) Dinesh Dhamija (Ebookers.com) Firoz Kassam (Firoka Group) Dr Kartar Lalvani (Vitabiotics) Sir Gulam Kaderboy Noon (Noon Products) Vijay and Bhikhu Patel (Waymade Healthcare) Lord Swraj Paul (Caparo group) Professor Nathu Ram Puri (Purico Group) Perween Warsi (S&A Foods)

Through case studies and analysis of both personal and business issues, Spinder

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Pinky makes the difference

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QUEEN OF AWARD CEREMONIES, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER AND ENTREPRENEUR PINKY LILANI TELLS AWM HOW SHE CHAMPIONS WOMEN IN THEIR CAREERS AND WHY HER INDIAN COOKING CAN MELT THE HEART OF ANY CEO. ELLIE PARSONS WENT TO MEET HER.

I’ve been welcomed into the home of entrepreneur Pinky Lilani in Purley, Surrey, where she lives with her husband Mehboob and their two sons, Imraan and Rishad. When we meet she has her BlackBerry permanently glued to her hand and immediately starts reeling off her busy schedule: she’s off to see Unilever tonight, then tomorrow she’s off to Number 10 Downing Street, recently she spoke at Cambridge University and Wycombe Abbey girls’ boarding school and so on. Does she have a PA? I enquire. “No, I’m my PA, I’m the bottle washer,” comes the reply. Pinky is the founder of The Asian Women of Achievement Awards, now in its 13th year, to celebrate Asian women’s contribution to UK society. She set up the Women of the Future Awards for women 35 and under, in 2005, and the four-yearold Global Empowerment Award, which honours people who inspire world progress. She also set up The Inspirational Women’s Network, which is sponsored by JP Morgan, and created The Women of the Future Ambassadors Programme, sponsored by Aviva, which arranges for women at the top of their profession to visit schools and inspire young girls.

felt Asian women in particular needed support and encouragement. “The perception was that women stayed at home and fried the onion bhajis, and I wanted to show that there were some really spunky Asian women out there. We’ve had [in past years of the Asian Women of Achievement Awards] Kiss Radio’s DJ Neev, a salsa dancer and a woman who invented a non-drip teapot. All these stories you’ve never heard of and that for me was a real revelation,” explains Pinky.

CELEBRITY ATTENTION The Asian Women of Achievement Awards have been attended by actress Liz Hurley, home secretary Theresa May and wife of the deputy prime minister, Miriam Clegg, all wearing colourful saris to show their support and get into the spirit of the event. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have also attended and

Pinky’s other business, Spice Magic, involves cookery lessons as part of corporate team building days – yes, she even finds time to cook, but we’ll get to that later.

Above: Pinky at the Women of the Future Awards with Prime Minister David Cameron and retired chairman of Shell UK, James Smithat the 2009 Awards. Right: Pinky with awards patron Cherie Blair.

At the core of everything Pinky does is compassion and a desire to set the world to rights. She looked around and saw other awards for Asians but noted it was mostly men who won them and AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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Cherie Blair is a patron. They can be seen in photo frames all over Pinky’s house. Pinky’s role in the awards is still very much hands-on. Although an events company handles the organisation, she finds the sponsors, decides the

‘Kindness, warmth’ – they’re not often words heard in the hard-headed business sphere but it seems to be paying off for Pinky

judging panel, chooses who’ll head it (this year it’s Sir Nicholas Young, chief executive of the British Red Cross) and finds herself accosting people in the street to ask what they do and if they’ll enter her awards. The candidates have now been shortlisted for The Asian Women of Achievement Awards (see page 66 for more details) to be held on 16 May at London’s Park Lane Hilton, and this time two new categories, one for community and another for sport, have been added to the existing nine. It’s easy to be skeptical about award ceremonies, but to Pinky and the recipients it means a lot. “Women need that kind of support, they need others to reinforce their self belief,” she says. “I really feel that getting that acknowledgement is important because the greatest human craving is to be appreciated. By giving an award it gives people a platform. It was for women that I felt I could add the most value.” In the beginning, securing sponsorship for the awards was the biggest challenge because she could not afford to fund them herself, but a clear vision helped win friends. “I wanted sponsors that were credible and well known and also to get good people to judge the awards. Now it has a domino effect – businesses have told others to come on board,” she says. As a business model it works, and Pinky was able to grow other awards and events off the back of its success. Yet every few years she faces the same task; winning over sponsors. “It takes ages to build relationships with companies,” she says, “but you have to recognise that it has to be a winwin. There has to be something in it for them. Pinky’s found her way through the corridors of power, she understands how corporations work and best of all, is using it to her advantage to do

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good, to forward equality and to force companies to fulfill their corporate social responsibility, not just use it as a buzzword. She received an OBE in 2007 presented to her by the Queen for her services to charity – which she’s still actively involved in – it’s this altruistic side to her nature combined with her head for business that has led to her success.

FROM THE KITCHEN TO THE BOARDROOM We move into the kitchen where Pinky’s previously invited delegates from NatWest, Ernst & Young and IBM to take part in Spice Magic team building days. These involve a motivational talk on subjects such as positive thinking together with a lesson on Indian cooking and using spices. “Food is such a great way of communicating and forming a common bond,” says the self-taught cook. She offers me some lunch, saying she’s skipped breakfast today and begins piling curry and rice on a plate – she’s having to cook more at the moment, she says, now that her sons have moved back home for a while. At the dinner table it’s the first time she’s put down her phone and relaxed, talking more about family and her passion for food, which led to setting up Spice Magic 10 years ago. Born in Calcutta into a privileged family, Pinky studied for her post graduate diploma in social communication media in India, before moving to the UK in 1978 to be with her husband. At first she was a stay-at-home mum and became actively involved in charity work and fundraising, which involved public speaking. Pinky served on the committees of the National Council of His Highness the Aga Khan, helping to ensure the welfare of the Ismaili community, and the former European Women of Achievement Awards. The latter gave her the idea to found the now long-established Asian Women of Achievement Awards to celebrate Asian women’s contribution to UK society. “When I moved to the UK I didn’t see myself as a business woman. I was


a mummy really. I didn’t work for the first 10 years when the boys were growing up. I stumbled into work just by chance. I began by teaching evening cookery classes once a week at a local adult education school at the princely sum of £11 an hour. I didn’t have any expertise but I used to go in with lots of energy. One of

my pupils worked at Sharwood’s and she asked me to do some consultancy for them. Then I advised the major supermarkets – helping them to develop Indian sauces – and that’s when I decided to write my first book Spice Magic: An Indian Culinary Adventure,” recalls Pinky.

she is today. She’s persuaded CEOs to sponsor her awards, she’s convinced celebrities that her awards are the place to be seen, and she’s spiced up the corporate world. Her latest product is a box of spices for McCormick’s brand Schwartz. “The only thing that gets people

2011 Awards- Pinky with HRH Princess Badiya bint El Hassan and the shortlisted candidates

ASIAN WOMEN OF ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS 2012 Sponsored by RBS and organised by Caspian Media will be held on

16TH MAY 2012 AT THE LONDON HILTON (PARK LANE). For full details please see page 66

She used her own savings to self publish the first book and turned travelling saleswoman to sell it. “I didn’t have a clue how I would sell my book. No bookshop wanted to stock it because they have to go through distributors, but one shop agreed to let me come in and do a quick demonstration so people could taste the food and buy the book. I did that all over the country. It’s a model I enjoy because it gets me face to face with people,” she says. A second recipe book, Coriander Makes the Difference, followed. In true entrepreneurial style Pinky went into all the corporate boardrooms she knew to present it, and within two weeks she’d made back the money she’d invested in publishing it.

involved is they like the warmth of someone, the energy and kindness. So I think if you can make them feel part of what you’re doing. For me, that is the criteria of success,” she says. ‘Kindness’, warmth’ – they’re not often words heard in the hard-headed business sphere but it seems to be paying off for Pinky, who at 57 sees no point in slowing down. “People say, ‘You’re so successful, how have you done this?’ but I don’t see myself as being successful. I just see myself still facing challenges and getting projects off the ground. And other people say, ‘When are you going to retire?’ and I say, ‘Are you mad, I haven’t even done what I’ve wanted to do yet.’” www.spicemagic.com

It is this type of gumption and her social skills that have got Pinky where AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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OUR RAREST WHISKIES M A S T E R F U L LY

ENJOY JOHNNIE WALKER® RESPONSIBLY, DRINKiQ.COM. The JOHNNIE WALKER and BLUE LABEL words and associated logos are trademarks. ©JOHN WALKER & SONS 2012

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B L E N D E D


the importance of

insurance ROBERT MARSHALL OF INDEPENDENT BROKER TRIDENT INSURANCE SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON BUSINESS INSURANCE, WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT FROM YOUR BROKER AND THE IMPORTANCE OF A THOROUGH APPRAISAL OF INSURANCE NEEDS.

It is very hard to make insurance interesting. Too many insurance companies have got an awful reputation and everyone has heard stories, true or false, of claimants buying into a policy, only to find it doesn’t pay out when they make a claim. In today’s challenging business environment, survival may be the only thing on your mind. Securing new customers, creating a growth strategy for the next 12 months, and keeping updated with the implication of new regulation often seems to take up vast swathes of time. Against this backdrop, insurance is, understandably, the last thing on your list of priorities. However, you know it has to be addressed and, unenthused, add it to the bottom of your ‘to do’ list. There is a lot of patronising and sanctimonious claptrap surrounding why we need insurance. We don’t always see that we need it, let alone want it. We object to what we are paying for and can’t handle the exemptions that seem to spring up all too often. Yet saying all that, insurance is, and will remain, a necessary outgoing for every business.

REALITY CHECK Some think the internet is an amazing utility, and it is, but it is not always the panacea some would believe it to be. Recently, the UK Insurance Benchmark Survey by Global Reviews looked at several hundred criteria designed around the needs of consumers. For online insurance they found: “the average UK insurance site scored well below the minimum required to be meeting consumer needs, suggesting that the UK insurance industry, on the net, struggles to meet customer expectations”. Against that, recent statistics from the British Insurance Brokers Association have shown that where business or commercial related insurance is concerned, a little more than 80% is handled by brokers. In these circumstances the broker becomes a useful conduit by informing the client of the necessary variables, and relaying an explanation for costs. Concurrently, the broker can explain to the insurer the intricacies of the business looking for insurance cover, what it is looking for and why. Your broker should explain that if you underinsure you will, by definition, be under-covered and any payment for loss, theft or damage will be based on the lower level of cover paid for. Strangely, the purchase of insurance is something that needs to be looked at from the outside in, simply because it is outsiders who are going to be covering the cost in case things go wrong.

APPLICABLE INSURANCE Personally, I feel insurance panders to our feelings of insecurity and fear, just as the stock market does to our feelings of greed, and we must be disciplined not to fall into that trap. AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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When we talk about what type of business insurance is needed, the line ‘how long is a piece of string?’ seems appropriate. For example, you should consider if your business needs professional indemnity and/or directors and officers cover? If you do, you will need to supply a lot more than just your name and address to apply for insurance cover; your profits and personal earnings last year, together with prospective earnings, will be required. Everything you are reluctant to tell even your accountant is expected on paper for the risk to be assessed, and even then there is no guarantee that your application will be accepted. As for directors and officers, this would only apply where there is more than one director registered. Public liability insurance is set up with bands of £1, £2 and £5 million, and if you wanted £10 million worth of cover, you will need to arrange a separate policy on top of the £5 million. As for employer’s liability, it is always based on £10 million. In the event of a claim for public or employers liability, as the employer you will need to have shown that full compliance with health and safety have been adhered to; and that is not easy. If you rent premises you will be paying your buildings insurance via your maintenance charge to your landlord, and just like an apartment, everything within the walls is down to you, from the computer you use to the chairs you sit on. Yes, you can apply for computer cover, and for that matter cover for pretty well anything, but it comes at a price, and you must always ask yourself ‘do I really need it?’ As a broker, I am here to enthuse you, but not to kid you. It is really important to distinguish between what cover you actually need, against what could be perceived as surplus. Further, it is not what you’re covered for, but what exemptions and exclusion you’re subject to, I cannot stress that enough. What I would ask you to remember is that each trade and profession will have its own specific risks, and to assume there’s a bog standard cover like a fully comprehensive car cover for a business is wrong. You need to get what suits you and no more, when it comes to your business. Remember, if the rate you are offered is sticking out so differently from the pack in a cheap way, then you should be sceptical to the point of cynical because something will clearly be missing. Maybe it won’t happen to you, but something’s are not worth gambling on. When you do take out a policy always read the terms and conditions. You have an obligation to yourself to do that. Insurance is just not like buying a can of beans, much as insurers have sought to try to sell it like one. After a two week ‘coolingoff’ period, you are in for the year, unless for whatever reason you wish to cancel. If you do have second thoughts after the cooling-off period you may be subject to cancellation and administration charges, and the payment back will not equate to a pro rata return of money. Saying all that, there is no alternative to buying insurance. Where else can you secure cover on a car with the potential of unlimited damages for £700 a year? Who will cover a home, with say a market value of £400,000, and a rebuild value of £150,000, for a payment of £200 per year? Who will offer almost unlimited medical cover for maybe £1,000 a year? Who will cover commercial-combined insurance for business interruption with all that entails from salaries to cash flow, for a nominal amount? Insurance has, for all the smiley faces on TV, become abstract in the way it operates. Simple clarity has got lost by the complexity within the terms and conditions. Using a broker can really help you through the minefield that insurance has become and save you money. As an independent broker, Trident Insurance cannot make insurance fun, let alone interesting, much as I wish we could. But we can tell you how it is from your initial inquiry to your receiving the documentation for the cover you want, and most importantly, the cover you need.

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OVER 30 MILLION CHILDREN IN SOUTH ASIA DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL. MOST OF THEM ARE GIRLS.

Education is a priority for The British Asian Trust. We help poor children, especially girls, go to school. We do that by investing in local charities — like Educate Girls in Rajasthan, India — that are making the greatest impact on poverty in South Asia.

Our unique approach aims to encourage philanthropy amongst the British Asian community by:

Since 2008, Educate Girls has touched the lives of more than 37,000 girls. Through our portfolio of high-impact charities like Educate Girls, the Trust has reached out to more than 350,000 people in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

• Showcasing grassroots charities that do not have adequate visibility in the UK

Founded by British Asian business leaders at the suggestion of HRH The Prince of Wales, the Trust promotes effective giving that creates lasting change in South Asia.

• Combating scepticism in the important sector of charitable giving in South Asia

• Sharing the progress of donations through regular reports

Help us bring lasting change to South Asia.

“The British Asian Trust supports innovative and inspirational organizations and projects in South Asia and in the United Kingdom to address issues of long term sustainability.” PRESIDENT: HRH THE PRINCE OF WALES

THE BRITISH ASIAN TRUST IS A UK REGISTERED CHARITY (1127366)

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Visit www.britishasiantrust.org to learn more and donate online or call: +44 (0)20 7024 5646


A head

for business WHEN BUSINESS IS BOOMING AND YOUR FOCUS IS SQUARELY ON CREATING OR GROWING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS, DATING MIGHT BE THE LAST THING ON YOUR MIND AND IN YOUR DIARY. AWM WENT TO MEET THE MODERN AUNTYJI WHO HAS MADE A BUSINESS OUT OF FINDING LOVE. With the popularity of dating events (and online dating sites) increasing, it was only a matter of time until people started to get bored of the same old speed dating nights. And just in the nick of time, along came The Asian Dinner Club. It is a dating service with a difference. It holds regular singles events in exclusive restaurants in London where like-minded Asian professionals can converse with potential partners over delicious food in opulent surroundings. Salima Manji is the Asian Dinner Club’s founder. A mother of two and ex-investment banker, she secretly hated the corporate grind, mostly the long hours and the politics, and longed to be self employed. However, she continued for the sake of her children,

as the only driving factor behind her career was the material gain. When she found herself single in 2007, Salima and her friends noticed how difficult it was to meet other likeminded people in London, especially while juggling a busy lifestyle and demanding job. “We wanted to have interesting and intellectual conversations with people so I put together the two things that I enjoyed the most; going out to nice restaurants and bars with great conversation. I set up a ‘desi’ version of a supper club; Asian Dinner Club.” Salima began to make plans around branding; the logo and web design all the while keeping an eye on competition. There were no events of this kind and Salima’s gut instinct told her that the dinner club would do well. AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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Well versed in marketing strategy, Salima worked with a visionary web designer to get the website looking as exclusive as it does today. “That was the point I quit investment banking,” she explains. “I didn’t know if it was going to be a success and if people were going to come to the events but I was so passionate.” One of the major forms of marketing that Salima used was Google AdWords. By using keywords such as ‘Asian events’ and ‘Asian single professionals’, the budding entrepreneur was able to reach a wide audience. Salima paid a PR

“that was the point i quit investment banking, i didn’t know if it was going to be a success and if people were going to come to the events but i was so passionate.” company for three months, and as a result the Asian Dinner Club appeared in newspapers such as City AM, and Metro, magazines such as Asiana, and websites such as Foodepedia and Glam UK. The first event took place in September 2008 at the luxurious Quaglino’s in Mayfair. A total of 13 people came and the night was a huge success. People wanted to attend more events and so Salima continued on a monthly basis. Today, they run even more frequently. Salima often helps attendees of the events to contact a potential partner. “A guy might ask me ‘who was the girl with the black dress’ but a lot of the girls might’ve been wearing a black dress, It is time consuming but if I can I will contact the girl and tell them that ‘so and so would love to meet you’ or give her his details,” she explains. The next venture for Salima is the launch of the London Dinner Club. Salima found that many attendees of the Asian Dinner Club wanted to bring non-Asian friends with them, but were unable as it is exclusively for the Asian community. Therefore the London Dinner Club was the natural step to addresses that gap in the market. The London Dinner Club will

attract the same calibre of members, she insists, and will retain the same classy and opulent feel as past Asian Dinner Club events have had. Salima’s success rate is high with a number of attendees dating, living together and there are even a few marriages planned, with Salima is invited as a guest of honour. Her role has developed into a modern day ‘Auntyji.’ With more and more young people attending the events and her empire expanding, Salima can only go from strength to strength. www.asiandinnerclub.com

AUNTY SALIMA’S DATING TIPS 1 Ladies, make sure you smile and engage in eye contact with someone who takes your fancy. A guy loves a girl who smiles; it will draw him to you from across the room. 2 However, girls don’t be overconfident. Even though a guy might not say it but it goes back to the traditional years when the guy was the provider, a guy does want to provide for his family, even the modern ones! 3 If you’re coming straight from work there’s that dilemma of what to wear. Make sure you tidy your hair, put some lippy on, accessorise a little. For example, a scarf will reflect on your face and the guys will remember you as maybe ‘the girl with the blue scarf’. This goes for men too. Look smart but not as if you’ve come out of the gym or straight from a board meeting. 4 To both sexes be warm and friendly when engaging in conversation. Ask questions but listen. 5 Most importantly enjoy yourself, if you look like you’re having a good time the other person will want to join in on the fun and sparks could fly!

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Take

Olympic INSPIRATION

Resilience, focus, drive… just some of the traits needed to be an Olympic athlete. Here, Melissa Stewart, explores how the skills deployed by professional sportspeople can be just as important in the boardroom.

You clasp your hands together to stop them from sweating, you take a few deep breaths, you put your feet in the starting blocks and you prepare for the performance of a lifetime…

women spend hours before major events working with sports psychologists to develop their mental prowess – and, believe it or not, many of the skills they learn can be just as relevant in business.

Be it a running track or a boardroom, the adrenaline we feel coursing through our veins is the same in any situation where we have to perform to the best of our ability. As the Olympics hit London this summer, and the crème de la crème of sportsmen and women from across the globe go head to head for those all important medal positions, it’s clear that the challenges they face have as much to do with mental preparation as they do physical preparation.

“Performance psychology is about using attributes that you don’t necessarily know you have,” explains Bryan Steel, founder of performance development company Winning Mindset and twotime GB cycling Olympic medallist. “It’s about training yourself to be the most effective you can be – be it in sport, business or in your personal life.

For many of them, it will be the defining moment of their careers, the goal that they’ve worked toward their whole lives. Facing that challenge, and the pressure that goes with it, will have taken months of intense training. They know that to be the best requires more than just natural talent – it’s about practise, teamwork, dedication and, above all, self-belief. Indeed, the whole concept of performance psychology is now seen as an essential part of any athlete’s training. Top sportsmen and

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“There are many parallels between being a great sportsperson and being a great business leader. The key traits are determination and focus – asking yourself, where do you want to be and how are you going to get there? You’d be surprised at how many people I’ve spoken to that don’t actually know what their objectives are. In sport it’s never plain sailing – you don’t know what might get thrown at you next, so you need to be dynamic – but it’s about knowing where you want to end up that’s important. And that applies in business, too.”


DEFINING YOUR GOALS Setting goals, Bryan believes, is the key to success. “It’s important to visualise what you want. What does it look like? For a cyclist, like myself, it could be achieving a new personal best, while for someone else it could be financial – earning enough money to buy a new Mercedes, for example. For another it may be getting a promotion. You need to know what your goals are.” One technique that Bryan and his company deploy is known as the ‘Block of Flats’. “This is something that we used in coaching as part of the British cycling team,” explains Bryan. “Basically you visualise a block of flats, with the roof representing where you want to be. In sport it could be that you want to win an Olympic medal. In business, it could be that you want to achieve £1 million in sales, or on a simpler level, go for a promotion. “Your goal could be weeks, months or years away, but what you have to do is break it down into floors. How many floors do you need to climb to achieve your goal? Then, you break it down into achievable steps. Ask yourself, what steps do I need to take to get from the ground floor to the first floor? This stops you from focusing too much on the future – each step you take is here and now. This makes your goal attainable. “Each time you take a new step or reach a new floor in your block of flats – stop and take a moment to reflect, assess where you are. Reflect, review and set small goals. By doing that, you’ll get to the roof and before you know it will have achieved your main goal.”

A FOCUSED MIND While having a clear set of goals is key to any sportsperson or business leader’s strategy for success, of equal importance is the ability to focus on the here and now, and read the situation. Picture the tennis player just before he takes that all-important serve. Chances are, if he’s thinking too far ahead he’ll end up losing the point. “The ability to really focus and be in the moment and train yourself to do that enables you to be more productive and reduces stress levels,” explains Amanda

Owens, a leading sports psychologist and founder of Believe Consulting, who apply sports psychology techniques in the fields of sport and business. “Not being in the moment and not being focused can create panic and high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. When this happens you don’t make the right decisions, you panic and it affects other people in the team. Then, unfortunately, people are less productive, less agreeable and don’t achieve the results you want.” The good news is that focus is achievable – no matter who you are or what you do. Everyone talks about sportspeople being in the ‘zone’ but the real skill they have is being only aware of what they’re doing right now, and that’s a skill that can be learned. “We talk about intensity levels in sport. There are different levels depending on what you need to be focusing on,” explains Amanda. “So, if you’ve got a really important task in hand, you need to be completely in the here and now and devote all your energy to it. Some tasks require less of an intense focus – so it’s about understanding how to switch. This is something sportspeople do all the time. It’s about understanding the different levels of focus.” This is easier said than done in the modern business environment, where the phone is ringing off the hook, emails are jamming your inbox and your diary is filled with meetings. But, as Amanda explains, it all comes down to selfdiscipline. “Unfortunately in today’s workplace we are all far too distracted, so it’s really important that you plan your day and give it some structure,” she says. “Realise that you need to focus on one task at a time. If you do feel overwhelmed take a break and focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose for the count of four, hold for four and then breathe out again through your nose to the count of six. This simple meditative technique of focusing on your breath creates a sense of calm and focus.” Another focusing technique that Bryan champions is setting aside time in your day to do something active. “Studies show that if you do 30 minutes exercise before you go to the office, you’re a

lot more focused when you get there. Productivity goes sky high,” explains Bryan. “You’re not only using that time to wake up and get fitter – you think about the day ahead, you’re planning and coming up with solutions.”

COPING WITH PRESSURE Honing your focusing skills in both sport and business is vital – especially when under pressure. Time and again we see professional sportspeople crumble at that critical moment – because they perceive the pressure upon them to be overwhelming. The best way to deal with pressure – be it before a 100 metre sprint or a new business pitch – is to turn it from a negative force into a positive one. “Roger Federer is a case in point,” says Amanda. “Yes, he has remarkable resilience and self-belief, but through repeated behavioural patterns he has also learned that he performs better on court when under pressure. When faced with a challenging situation he thinks ‘I can do this. I’ve done it numerous times before.’ “Likewise, successful businesspeople use pressure to their own advantage – they know that they can excel. They’ve learned through their experiences how they win, what they need to do and how to behave. They refine their decision making through this learning.” As well as viewing pressure as a positive force, it helps in a team environment to ensure everyone knows exactly what his or her roles and responsibilities are. As Bryan explains, “I used to compete in a four-man cycling event and I knew exactly what I needed to do. I could forget about everyone else and know that if I did A, B and C to the best of my ability, and my team mates did A, B and C to the best of their abilities then we’d get to where we needed to be. It sounds like a cliché but I just did my job.”

PART OF A TEAM By identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and those of your colleagues, you can ensure that everyone is playing on the same team. If you’re all on the same side, then you’re more likely to succeed. Central to this success is awareness – not only of your own behaviour but also of those around you. AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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Think about how your react under immense pressure. Do you shout and scream? Or do you go quiet and stop communicating? “Some people are completely unaware of how they react under pressure,” says Amanda. “And it’s not until they’re in a group situation and do some communication development work that they realise the affect they’re having on those around them.” One way to gauge how others view you is to do a performance review with 360-degree feedback. “This is where you ask other people in your team how they perceive you when you’re under pressure,” explains Amanda. “To keep it constructive it needs to be done in a careful environment, facilitated by a team manager or psychologist.” Lots of work has been done on this in sport because having an awareness of how your teammates respond under pressure is crucial. You can’t assume that what works for you, will work for them. “Assumptions create stress,” continues Amanda. “Saying ‘hard luck’

GOING FOR GOLD Performance psychology tips to keep you on the right track in business 1. Keep your eye on the ball. Focus. Block out your diary, turn off your email, ignore the phone – do all you can to avoid being distracted. To get a job done properly, you need to focus on the task in hand. 2. Don’t fly solo. Believe in the power of teamwork. Canvas opinion, take advantage of your colleagues’ skills and expertise and listen to what they have to say. Remember a great idea is only going to succeed if other people like it as much as you do. 3. Take the lows with the highs. Great athletes

to a team mate after they missed a point or dropped a ball may feel like the right thing to say, but to that particular individual it could be the last possible thing they want to hear – it makes them feel bad and creates more pressure. So improved communication and increased awareness is essential.”

FACING FAILURE Goals, focus, awareness and the ability to cope with pressure – all key ingredients for success in the spheres of sport and business. But what if all your hard work doesn’t pay off and you don’t succeed? What if you fail? “All athletes know that failure is a part of the process. If you’re not failing, you’re not learning. Failure encourages you to push yourself,” says Bryan. “If you fail, regroup and focus on the positives. Sometimes you can’t control all the circumstances, but think about what you can control within a specific environment.”

are great because they appreciate that sometimes failing can be as important as winning. Learn from your mistakes and use them to do even better next time. 4. Positive mental attitude. Believe in yourself and don’t let self-doubt swallow you up. Write your goals down and keep them as affirmations you say out loud to yourself every day. If you visualise success it’s more likely to happen. 5. Embrace the challenge. The last thing you want is to look back on your life and regret the things you haven’t done. If you keep putting yourself out there and going for your goals, eventually you will succeed.

Just think of the gymnast that topples from the vault in the final round. They manage to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and finish their performance. They don’t give up. “It comes back to resilience and selfbelief,” says Amanda. “There’s a famous Rudyard Kipling poem that speaks about treating success and failure as the same thing. It’s not easy, but if you’re going to succeed you need to be able to take the knocks. Successful sportspeople and businesspeople don’t view failure as something catastrophic, they accept it as part of life and something they can learn from.” So win or lose, succeed or fail, one thing is certain, to elevate yourself from amateur to professional, be it on the sports track or in the boardroom, you need to approach everything with confidence, focus, self-belief and resilience. These are the attributes that will bring home Olympic medals for Team GB this summer and the skills you can use to gain a gold medal in business.

PRESENTATION PREP Talking business in front of an audience can be a daunting experience. Here are sport psychologist Amanda Owen’s tips for success… Prepare. Great sportsmen like Johnny Wilkinson, Graham Gooch, Andrew Strauss, the new England rugby team… They all understand that mental preparation is vital. Make sure you’ve done your homework. Analyse. Think about the last pitch or presentation you did. How did it go? What did you learn from it? Is there anything you can do differently or better this time? If it went really well – what can you take from it? Visualise. Picture yourself successfully completing the presentation. Run through it in your head. What do you look like? How are you acting? How are people responding? Notice that you’re calm, composed and in control. Do this four or five times to create a positive picture in your mind. Breathe. Just before a big presentation the adrenalin will start to kick in. Don’t let it overwhelm or panic you. Focus on your breathing and keep calm. Make your nervous energy work for, not against you.

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Rajiv Ouseph is an Olympic hopeful. His

father and sisters are all ex-badminton players, and he hopes to carry the family name all the way to the big one, the London 2012 Olympic Games. He talked to Jo Payne about how he uses performance psychology on the court.

How do you keep focused when you’re playing? A badminton match can run from 30 minutes to one hour and 20 minutes. So it’s hard to keep concentration for that long. I know that if I’m doing something wrong, or if my coach can see my mind wavering he’s always there to keep me on track. But it can definitely be difficult to maintain your concentration for long periods of time when you’re playing. It’s very intense and it’s important to completely relax after a game and take your mind off it. Do you think the support team you have play an important part in keeping you mentally strong? Definitely, I think that’s really important. I’m quite lucky because my coach is an ex-player and so he knows what I need and how to deal with certain things so I utilise his knowledge as much as possible. I’m lucky in that respect.

When you prepare for a match, are there any specific mental preparations that you use or that your coaches have taught you? Depending on the level of the match, it changes depending on who I’m playing, if it’s someone I’ve played a lot or if it’s someone I think I can beat. We watch some videos of the opponent and then I and my coach will go through it. Then the night before the game we’ll revise our general tactics and then about an hour before the match, when I’m getting ready, he’ll remind me of the main things I need to focus on and then I put my iPod on and try to get into the zone as best I can. Do you have any superstitions? If I’m at a certain tournament and I’ve done something successfully all week then I’ll try and keep that going as best I can. Do any of your coaches ever use the phrase performance psychology? We have a sports psychologist here, where I train in Milton Keynes. I see

him weekly, or every other week. Not about anything specific, just to run through things, have a chat. Sometimes if I need to see him about anything specific I will. It’s very, very useful for me. Pressure can sometimes be difficult to deal with; especially with the Olympic Games being in England there is a lot of added expectations to deal with. For a lot of athletes it is going to be their first Olympic Games and for it to be one at home is another added bit of pressure. How important is it to your performance on the court that you’ve done that mental preparation? I think it’s a major factor. If you’re feeling a bit mentally fragile on court I think your opponents can definitely tell and take advantage of it. So if you’re mentally strong then that’s half the battle won. It’s a big part of the game. I like to think I’m mentally strong, but I work on it as well and I think it pays off.

How important is it to ignore personal distractions? You just have to try as best you can to put all personal worries to the side and focus on your game. That’s when you produce your best results, when you’re 100% concentrated on the task in hand. It’s easier said than done though! How do you cope when you lose? Everyone goes through losses and I think sometimes when you lose you learn a little bit more about yourself and about the game, you have to take the positives as much as possible rather than dwelling too much on poor results. Sometimes if it’s a really big competition or if it’s the Olympic Games for example, it’s going to hurt that little bit more. But you just need to use those experiences as best you can when you’re playing and try to turn it into positives because there is no point in dwelling on bad experiences, it is not going to benefit you in the long run. Just trying to turn around that loss is the best thing to do. My coach has taught me to learn from what I did wrong and put that right next time. He’s tried to tell me to use his bad experiences and learn from him rather than going through them myself, but sometimes you do need to personally go through it to fully learn from it. AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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Minimum wage rises

Back in recession

From Monday 1 October, the adult hourly minimum wage in the UK will rise to £6.19, while youth minimum wage will remain frozen. The rise is a 1.9% hike from the 2011/2012 national minimum wage adult rate, which currently stands at £6.08 per hour. The national minimum wage youth development rate (for workers aged 18 to 20) will remain at £4.98 per hour, which is unchanged from the rate for 2011/2012. The national minimum wage youth rate (for workers aged 16 and 17) will also remain unchanged at £3.68 per hour for 2012/2013. However, the national minimum wage for apprentices will increase by 1.9% from 1 October 2012 to £2.65 per hour, also a rise of 1.9% from the current hourly rate of £2.60.

Despite expectations of a GDP growth of 0.1%, the UK is officially back in recession after two consecutive quarters of negative growth. In the first quarter of this year it fell by 0.2%, this follows a 0.3% drop in the fourth quarter of 2011. Chancellor George Osborne had predicted a rapid return to growth and Prime Minister David Cameron has said it would be “absolute folly” to borrow money to get Britain out of debt.

Red Bull founder dies The founder of the energy drink Red Bull, Chaleo Yoovidhya, has died of natural causes, aged 89. Yooidhya was one of Thailand’s richest men. He founded Krathing Daeng, the Thai name for Red Bull, in 1984 with an Austrian business partner who assisted him in developing the energy drink into a global brand outside Thailand. Yoovidhya also founded TC Pharmaceuticals and has assets worth several billion dollars according to Forbes magazine. His son, Chalerm Yooidhya now runs the company.

Facebook buys Instagram Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook is to buy the photo sharing application Instagram for $1 billion. In a little more than a year of its inception, Instagram attracted a loyal user base of more than 30 million people. Apple picked it as the iPhone App of the Year in 2011. Facebook is paying cash and stock for San Francisco-based Instagram and hiring its small team of employees. The deal is expected to close by the end of June.

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Apple doubles profits Technology giant Apple has doubled its quarterly profits in the first quarter of 2012. The company posted net profit of $11.6 billion, up from $6 billion in the compa- rable period of 2011.

Apple sold 35 million iPhones in the quarter, which was also almost double the numbers sold 12 months ago. In comparison, Microsoft has quarterly revenues of approximately $17 billion; while Google has announced quarterly profits of $10.65 billion.

Cap on tax relief David Cameron’s government is to launch a formal consultation this summer over its plans to limit the tax relief on charitable donations. Plans for the cap had sparked outrage from many, including the Labour party and philanthropists. The cap was outlined as ministers said they want to end the practice of wealthy people minimising their tax bill by donating to charity. This practice means that although the wealthy still pay tax, at least they choose where the money goes, rather than contribute to the treasury pot. The government estimates it is losing up to £100 million annually this way. If plans stay as they are, from April 2013 there will be a limit on the amount of income tax relief individuals can claim. Currently there is no limit, which means it is possible to donate enough money to charity to effectively bring a tax bill down to zero. The cap will be set at £50,000 in any one year, or at 25% of an individual’s income whichever is greater. For instance, if an individual with an income of £4 million donates £1 million to charity, they will get full tax relief for that £1m. However, if they want to donate more, they will have to donate from their taxed income.

UK ranked 14 According to The Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI), compiled by researchers from George Mason University, The University of Pécs and Imperial College Business School, the UK ranks at only number 14 of the most entrepreneurial nations. The US took the top spot, and Britain ranked behind such countries as Australia, and other European countries including: Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark and Belgium. According to the research, the UK needs to address investment in start-ups and help entrepreneurs access finance more readily. However, Britain does come in fifth place for its level of start-up activity thanks to the share of technology sector start-ups, the quality of the human resources in start-up firms and the share of start-ups in areas where not many other businesses are offering similar products.

Britain seems to be weak in its entrepreneurial aspirations according to the research. It ranks just 12th in Europe and 30th overall for the efforts of new entrepre-neurs to introduce new products and services, develop new production processes, penetrate foreign markets, substantially increase the number of firm employees, and finance their business using venture capital. Top 10 ranking of entrepreneurial nations 1. United States 2. Australia 3. Sweden 4. Canada 5. Switzerland 6. Iceland 7. Denmark 8. Belgium 9. Netherlands 10. Taiwan


Mistique moves

Cobra – official Jubilee beer

Mistique Events is moving its office and warehouse from its current South Croydon location to Thornton Heath. The new warehouse is 10,000 sq ft, almost five times bigger than the existing unit, which is approximately 2,000 sq ft, and will allow the event company to show clients décor in a larger environment.

Lord Bilimoria’s Cobra Beer will be the official beer of the Jubilee picnic, held in the ground of Buckingham palace this June. Reacting to the announcement, Lord Bilimoria, said: “We know that this will bring a great deal of pride not just to the UK’s 2.5 million-strong Asian community, but also to the 1.2 billion people in India and the 30 million people of Indian origin worldwide.” In June last year, Molson Coors Brewing Company bought a $35 million controlling stake of Cobra in India, taking operational control of the newly formed Molson Coors Cobra India. The joint venture will be chaired by Lord Karan Bilimoria. Molson Coors’ investment covers additional capital to fund future expansion plans of the brewery operations.

Small businesses complain The number of complaints from small businesses about loans and overdrafts to the Financial Ombudsman has risen to 435 complaints, jumping by 10% from 394 complaints last year. Disputes cover issues such as a bank’s refusal to renew loan

or overdraft facilities, or doing so only at a dramatically increased margin or with additional charges. Only businesses with an annual turnover of less than £1.8 million and fewer than ten employees are allowed to register a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman office.

Entrepreneur First makes selection Entrepreneur First, the not-for-profit initiative to help British graduates start up in business, has announced its first batch of entrepreneurs. Following more than 400 applications and 225 interviews, the Entrepreneur First judges have selected 34 promising graduates, drawn from 15 universities across the country, for the scheme’s initial intake. During their time at Entrepreneur First, the aspiring entrepreneurs will begin running their businesses full-time, backed by intensive mentoring, regular training sessions and meetings with investors. Launched last year, Entrepreneur First is backed by a host of blue-chip organisations, including Silicon Valley Bank, Microsoft, McKinsey & Company and the City of London Corporation.

Hermann Hauser recognised

Vespa returns to India

Hermann Hauser has been elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in recognition of his role as a science entrepreneur. His name is now alongside Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ernest Rutherford, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Hodgkin, Francis Crick, James Watson and Stephen Hawking. Today there are approximately 1,500 Fellows and Foreign Members, including more than 80 Nobel Laureates. Dr Hauser is a co-founder and partner of European venture capital firm, Amadeus Capital Partners. He has founded, co-founded and funded over 100 companies, including Acorn Computers, ARM, E*Trade UK, CSR and Solexa (now part of Illumina).

The iconic Italian scooter brand Vespa has returned to Indian roads after a 13-year absence with the launch of a new model in the country. The scooter manufac-turer Piaggio will invest £16m to double its scooter capacity in India by the end of 2013. Vespa first entered the Indian market back in the 1960s in partnership with Bajaj Auto and then during the 1980s with LML Motors with this partnership ended after a dispute in 1999. The company will be opening its production plant in Baramati in Maharashtra state on Saturday. It hopes to double the number of scooters it will be producing there to 300,000 by 2013.

James Caan calls on government James Caan is calling on the Government to stop putting “unnecessary and often silly rules” and regulations on small businesses in order to stimulate the economy. The Dragon’s Den star, and CEO of venture capital and investment firm Hamilton Bradshaw said: “It’s not the Government’s role to create jobs, that’s the role of small business and entrepreneurs. Government needs to get out of the way and let us do what we do best.” Caan has voiced his support for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the European Small Business Alliance’s recently tabled declaration in the European Parliament urging a halt to excessive rules and regulations affecting small firms.

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Family First A brighter future for your business Through Family First, we seek to provide a long term commitment to current and future owners of multi-generational family businesses, overlaying strategy, governance, wealth management, and generational issue management onto our audit, tax and advisory services. Contact: Nina Amin Asian Family Business Lead, KPMG LLP Tel: 020 7694 5336 email: nina.amin@kpmg.co.uk kpmg.co.uk/familyfirst

© 2012 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative, a Swiss entity. The KPMG name, logo and “cutting through complexity” are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International. RR Donnelley I RRD-269347 (A4) I April 2012. Printed on recycled material.

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THE

GAME PLAN In each issue we look at various British Asian entrepreneurs making a mark on their industry. We look into who they are, what they do and get a snap shot of their Game Plan for the next five years. In this issue we talk to Kuldip Sahota, Jig Pattni, Raspinder Singh and Rajeeb Dey.

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High street dreams… making it happen

Kuldip (back row – left) and the Sahota family

Kuldip Singh Sahota runs a business called MR SINGH’S, a family business in the food industry and best known for a single product, Mr Singh’s Hot Punjabi Chilli Sauce. Created by the eponymous Mr Singh and enjoyed by thousands across the world, here, Kuldip tells awm how he is going to conquer the rest of the world, one bottle at a time.

Put simply, the Mr Singh’s business makes and sells sauces. Having gone through various experiences, including appearing on a BBC TV show, High Street Dreams, Kuldip and his family soon learned the importance of having a clear purpose for their business and a clear set of values. Based on their experiences as a fragmented family, the purpose became clear and remains very simple: bring people together. The family established a clear set of values relevant to them, and what they wanted the business to stand for: quality, positivity, fun and focus. Based on these values, and a clear purpose, Kuldip’s family can find guidance when making complex decisions for their business. It also means the business is not limited to making sauce, and leaves open the opportunity to expand into any type of business they think is relevant.

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What’s your background and how did you come up with this business idea? I have always wanted to run my own business, but did not know it, did not know how, or even what business was. I am a late bloomer with a lot to learn, yet with boundless energy to execute my dreams.

I came home and told my family what I had done. I told them we had to make and sell 1000 bottles to make my money back and make some profit. Within 10 days my family came together, we learnt to make the sauce and at the show we sold out within three days, it was like magic for us. This was how Mr. Singh’s was born.

I studied art at Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design (a renowned art college who produced the likes of Alexander McQueen, Stella McCarthy and John Galliano). At the time I had no idea this was such a good school – I got accepted with an unconditional offer without really trying and believed I was great. Big mistake! Everyone at the school was ultra talented and it was here I learned one of the biggest lessons of my life, to succeed and stand out you have to use your talents and work harder than the competition – no one is going to give you success.

How long has the business been operational? The business has been up and running for three years now. The first two years were part time and incredibly hard work as I was still involved with the Indian property company, so I was working all the time, including all weekends. In the first few years I think we only had a handful of weekends off, including over the Christmas period.

I studied Fashion Promotions and started a degree as I was genuinely interested in the subject. However, I quickly grew bored as the course was too easy for me and I found fashion too fake an industry to be involved with. I then took on various roles, with various success! I worked as a sales associate for Burberry, for a furnishing company, and as an estate agent. After getting married I joined with my best friend in a London stock broking firm. I wanted to live a better life and be in charge of how much I earned. I did well in finance and moved around different roles including corporate finance, however when an opportunity came knocking to be involved with Indian real estate, I could not resist and joined a start-up dealing with property in India. After a few years, my best friend, another friend and I decided to buy land in Gujarat and start our own property development company. At the same time, I accidently started Mr Singh’s! I had seen my father struggle for years to be an entrepreneur and to try and create a business. He had already bottled his original sauce, and was trying to sell it – unfortunately with not much luck. He came home one day and was soaked from the pouring rain. I asked him what he had been doing; he replied he was trying to sell the sauce. A few days later I saw an advert for the BBC Good Food Show in London and for some reason decided to book it. Maybe it was fate.

What steps have you put in place to grow the business? There are three fundamental decisions and actions we have took towards the end of 2011 to grow our business: • No more food exhibitions, only focusing purely on selling our sauces to retailers • Gained an investor so we are financially secure and not reliant on bank funding to grow • Launching at least two more products to our range including a extra hot sauce and chilli mayonnaise By sticking to the three points mentioned, we are leaner, more efficient and focused on our goal of becoming the top selling chilli brand in the UK. The past three years have been spent honing our product, brand and business to be ready for 2012. This is our make or break year to achieve our goal and build a great British brand for generations to come. What would help you the most to move your business to the next level? The past few years have seen us learn a lot about the business we are in and we have had a lot of ups and downs along the way. The biggest element that could help us grow is consistency and stability. We hope to now have a manufacturer who can make our product for us to a standard we are happy with. If they can consistently make the product for us, at the same AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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quality levels we demand, it will mean we can constantly supply our customers with a product without any gaps in the supply chain. In the past we have made the sauce at home, part outsourced it, fully outsourced it and it has caused problems due to lack of stability. Moving forward, we hope this element will improve dramatically and we can get on with selling our products worldwide. Previously, we could only afford to make small batches which in itself caused pricing and supply issues. To remedy this, we have now secured an investor in the business. This will mean we no longer have to worry about how to fund the business and its growth. Self-funding a business, especially starting a brand, which is what we are doing, is hard unless you (or your parents) have deep pockets to start with. With an investor who can add money and value, it gives you the confidence to dream bigger and think as professional outfit rather than worrying about getting a certain invoice paid from a customer so you can use the same money to pay a supplier! It also means you have greater buying power, therefore your costs lower and profits higher. What currently frustrates you in your game plan? The biggest element of frustration I have is we have not yet fulfilled the potential I know my brand and business has, both financially and conceptually. For the first year, Mr Singh’s was a random activity my family and I took part in. We booked a food exhibition, made sauce, bottled it and sold it. It was fun and hard work, but ultimately enjoyable because we were spending time together as a loving family. Then, after we were approached by the BBC and appeared on High Street Dreams it became a real business and brand. It became a real opportunity to change the fortunes of my life and the life of my family. We all wanted to capitalise on this as quick as possible, however no one knew how! Being the CEO of the business it fell on my shoulders to guide the direction in which we went. For the following year and a half we worked harder than ever to try and make this dream come true and every time we thought we had succeeded another challenge came along or another set-back. Of course there were times when I momentarily doubted what we were doing because we were struggling, but then I realised we had a golden opportunity and there was no way I was going to let it go without a fight. Now, in 2012, it is like I am about to start all over again. The difference this time is that I have learnt the business, what works and what does not work. I have money to do what I need to and a range of superior quality products I know people will love because we have made them with love and passion. Is this frustrating? Yes, to an extent. I see starting again (well almost) like an opportunity to win a game with insider knowledge of how the opposition work and play. I know

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how to win now and I have the team to do it. What does success in five years time look like to you? Success in five years is Mr Singh’s being the number one selling chilli brand in the UK – hands down, no one can come close. I want Mr. Singh’s to be a nationally recognised brand. In a few years we would have broken into the US market and be making huge strides to conquer it. We will also be consistently selling to various overseas territories such as the Middle East, South Africa, China and Europe. By far, the biggest triumph I can foresee, and if I can achieve this it will be one of the proudest and happiest achievements of my life, will be to have all original seven members of the Singh family working (if they choose to) with Mr Singh’s on a full time basis. This has always been my father’s dream and I think it is slowly becoming my dream too. I am a strong believer in good coming to good people and my family deserves to be happy and to have financial freedom. On a lighter note, if after all this I end up living in a mansion, with a nice car in the drive and holiday in St. Tropez on a yacht, then it will be a great bonus. I read a (quite brutal) quote once and it goes like this: “Anything worth having in this life can only be had with blood or love. Whatever can be bought with money is not worth having”. As a family we have certainly bled for this business, we certainly love it and love each other. Therefore to me it means it is worth having and the next five years will be the time in which our dreams start to come true. In the long term where would you like to see your business? My goal is to build a brand which will last for generations. I am working hard and creating not for me, but for the next generation. Why do you think Americans are so patriotic? It is because they have the Declaration of Independence, an ideal that people live by. In the same way (not as dramatically) we have created a clear set of values and purpose in our business to guide us moving forward. This way the business is not reliant on a charismatic leader or innovative product, but by an ideal or way of life instilled in everyone. By having this in place, I hope we have created a business which will be profitable, healthy and giving to those involved with it. I once read a book called Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry L Porras. It opened my eyes to understanding why I am doing what I am doing, and it showed me there is benefit in playing the long game. I used to be a short-term thinker, but now, it is about the long-term and what can be achieved. Of course you need to consider the short- and mid-term too, however with a longer-term vision; you never lose focus and will be successful. If in 25 years I can hand over the business to someone else (be it a family member or someone nurtured from within the business) and they have the same gusto I have today to drive the business forward, then I would have done OK.


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Designs on the future Jig Pattni runs a jewellery design business in London, he designs high end bespoke pieces of jewellery that are very much in demand with his long client list. He tells AWM what lies in store in the future, and how he is going to achieve his game plan.

Jig Pattni is from a dynastic family of jewellers dating back more than 500 years. Having made jewellery at the bench from a very early age, this inspired him to study art and nurture his passion for design. He now runs his own jewellery design company. He has won three Lonmin Design Innovation Awards, and was shortlisted for Designer of the Year at the UK Jewellery Awards in 2008. Jig describes his work as filled with “emotion, desire and passion”. This is demonstrated in his award-winning Seven Deadly Sins, and Scenes of Love collection. His pieces are all one-offs. They are heavy with luxury, intricately detailed, sumptuously tactile and vibrantly coloured. Jig starts his design process by meeting a client, where he then translates their emotions and passions into a piece that could only have been made for them, truly unique. The clients play a big part in the process visiting the pieces at each stage of their construction.

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What’s your background and how did you come up with this business idea? My family starting teaching me techniques from the age of nine. I designed and made my first ring at 14. I was given a ring for my thirteenth birthday, but an uncle of mine wanted it back, he said a customer was interested, so he sold it. A year later, still waiting for the replacement, I decided to take a ring given in to us as scrap. Not the best looking, but I had visualised it my way and carved it out until it became personal. I put a jester’s hat on one side to symbolise my behaviour and my name (now my logo) on the other side. This way it couldn’t be sold to anyone else, and I hid it for many years to avoid the melting pot. By 19 I developed a formula not far off what I still use today. This is as follows: psychology plus philosophy plus strategy equals perception. Client application form/ interview plus art plus design equals jewellery piece.


How long has the business been operational? Officially my business began in 2005. What steps have you put in place to grow the business? I’m a stronger believer in organic growth, I understand that it is not the ideal business strategy, but I have better control over who wears my pieces. Today I am fortunate to now choose what commissions I take on and have developed an application form for potential clients. I am also attending more life drawing classes and meditating more to encourage my creativity. What would help you the most to move your business to the next level? The business would be helped greatly by a state-of-the-art workshop and a boutique gallery to showcase my work. What currently frustrates you in your game plan? Not enough time in the day and more time to work on more

my own pieces, currently I have a small waiting list of clients’ work that I am finishing from last year, before I start this year’s work. What does success in five years time look like to you? I would love to have a boutique gallery showcasing incredible pieces of wearable art. I would also like to see the pieces I make this year appreciated by the auction houses. One ring I made a few years back has already gone up in value and I would like this trend to continue. In the long term where would you like to see your business? It is a very hard balance, not to release too many of my pieces on the market, as this can damage and devalue the brand in the long term. I would like to see Jig Pattni pieces around the world donned amongst the most stylish men and chic women.

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Join the Club

Raspinder Singh is a 22-yearold graduate and founder of Gradpreneur.net and the Gradpreneur Club. Together, these form a networking and brokerage club for young entrepreneurs and start-up companies. He lets AWM in on his Game Plan.

The Gradpreneur Club is Raspinder Singh’s brainchild. It arranges events, seminars and boot camps for young entrepreneurs to encourage their learning and collaboration with like-minded individuals. It connects young entrepreneurs to experts, mentors, and experienced entrepreneurs who can facilitate and support their start-up experience. It also provides access to products/services tailored to the needs of early stage businesses through strategic partners. What’s your background and how did you come up with this business idea? I recently graduated from Royal Holloway University of London, having studied management with accountancy and finance. I spent most of my third year applying for jobs in corporate firms, like many others and despite getting through to the final stages of the applications I made; I would always seem to fall short at the final hurdle. At this point I took a step back, and started to reconsider my career options. I’ve always had a great passion for business/ technology, constantly reading and attempting to discover how the Richard Bransons and Mark Zuckerbergs got to where they are now. While at university, searching for like-minded people, ideas and support, I discovered there was a real gap between university and entrepreneurship and a lack of support for those who considered it a viable career option. Often the case, that university sets us up to become employable, but with increased competition for jobs and ever growing unemployment rates. The intellectual capacity that students and graduates hold needs to be channelled in another direction. Many are now heading in this direction (selfemployment) yet need access to people who can support them. For these reasons, I decided to set up gradpreneur.net as a means for allowing entrepreneurial students/graduates to connect and also gain access to mentors, experts and

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experienced entrepreneurs who can support and facilitate their start-up journey. In the same manner, we host events through the Gradpreneur Club. Our latest event, Startup Stories, was at the beginning of April and comprised of three young entrepreneurs sharing their start-up journey and bringing together like minded people who can collaborate, share best practice and support one another. We hope to have another successful event in June and July. What steps have you put in place to grow the business? Now with offline activities our network is growing at a much faster pace, we are getting media coverage and the chance to partner and collaborate with other organisations to co-create events and share resources. Collaboration seems like a great way forward, not only for us but, I imagine, many other businesses are now working in this manner.

What would help you the most to move your business to the next level? We are currently seeking sponsorship to help make running the events more sustainable and provide better offerings to attendees. Sponsorship can come in the form of advertising or offering products of value as prize draws. Raising the profile of what we are trying to achieve would benefit us greatly. What currently frustrates you in your game plan? There is no real frustration, as there’s always a way to reach a desired outcome. We just need to keep spreading the word, and hope many students/graduates

will receive the message and ultimately start to conduct more entrepreneurial activities, as opposed to devaluing themselves because they can’t find the job they want or need. What does success in five years time look like to you? We hope in five years time, the Gradpreneur Club would be recognised around the UK and internationally. Success in my eyes shouldn’t be measured by monetary value, of course we have to survive and we do this through the accumulation of currency. But ultimately success in this case will be defined by the achievements of the young entrepreneurs that we will support through our strategic network, and we hope the culture of entrepreneurship will be become much more apparent in the student/graduate community as a result of our work. In the long term where would you like to see your business? Our aim is to roll the Gradpreneur Club brand out using a

franchise model, allowing the clubs to be active locally and nationally. I aim to establish links in countries like India, where we have very ambitious students/graduates, but again they lack any real support that allows them to see self employment as a viable career option. I think this has to change, because it’s the entrepreneurs who ultimately dictate the state of our economies and job creation, so we should be fostering and bringing together those who wish to explore business opportunities.

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For his work on Enternships.com, Rajeeb Dey, 26, was named the “02 X Young Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2009 and the world’s youngest Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2012. He is also the co-founder of StartUp Britain – a national entrepreneurship campaign launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in March 2011. He is a trustee of UnLtd – the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, Advisory Board Member of Channel 4 (Education) and the UKTI SubSaharan Africa Taskforce. His passion for helping young entrepreneurs is making waves in the business industry, and simultaneously making a name for himself.

CONNECTING PEOPLE, Dey by Dey Rajeeb Dey is the founder/CEO of Enternships.com – a portal that connects students and graduates to work placements in start-ups and SMEs. Here, he tells AWM about the funding challenges he faces and his determination to enter the dictionary.

What’s your background and how did you come up with this business idea? Enternships.com started as a simple listing service which I set in 2005 while studying at the University of Oxford where I was president of Oxford Entrepreneurs (one of the largest networks of student entrepreneurs in Europe). I formally incorporated the business in 2009. Companies were approaching me to advertise opportunities as they were keen to reach entrepreneurial candidates. Over time, it became evident that more and more small companies wanted to reach students and with no proactive marketing, word of mouth led to more than 160 placements being advertised. I realised that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggle to find talent and lack the recruitment budgets of blue-chip firms to undertake the traditional ‘milkround’. Enternships therefore provides these companies with visibility on campus and serves as a central place for startups to reach out to talent. Whilst we know of ‘internships’ the word Enternship to signifies entrepreneurial work placements (“entrepreneurial internships”), a word which I hope over time will make its way into the dictionary! We are in the middle of a graduate unemployment crisis. In order for the UK economy to recover we need more entrepreneurs. I am passionate about creating a culture change – a culture where entrepreneurship is seen as a viable and rewarding career path. All too often, students fall into a graduate job often into the City – as all they are exposed to is jobs in banks, law firms, accountancy firms etc. However, for many those roles are simply not appealing but there is a lack of awareness of the alternatives. By exposing students and graduates to work in start-ups and SMEs I hope to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. Doing an ‘enternship’ should have the same kudos (if not more) as doing an ‘internship’ in a large corporation and it’s that message and culture change which really excites me. What steps have you put in place to grow the business? I have been cautious with regards to raising finance, hiring people etc. I wanted to be sure I was comfortable with our market position and business model before raising external finance. Having ‘bootstrapped’ the venture for

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a while, gained traction (more than 4,000 SMEs have now posted roles) and secured a multi-year contract with Santander Bank (to create a platform for Santander’s SME customers to post ‘enternship’ opportunities through us) I was confident that it was time to get additional investment to scale up our team and operations. I am in the process of finalising angel investment to take the business to the next level and hire additional staff to help expand our operations nationwide and internationally. We’re also developing our proposition for the South African market so looking to engage with people who have a background in scaling internet ventures internationally and the challenges, corporate structuring for example, that goes with that. What currently frustrates you in your game plan? As an online marketplace it’s essential that we always balance the number of companies with the number of candidates. Up until recently we have been self-funded and therefore have been very frugal and relied on word of mouth, PR and referrals to drive sign ups. This has led to a particular skew in opportunities being available in London and I’m keen to move away from that so that the roles are spread across the country. We are taking steps to achieve this by releasing localised university platforms (so that every university will have its own local Enternships platform which it can use to manage

relationships with local start-ups and the SME community) so that students can access ‘enternship’ opportunities wherever they are. What does success in five years time look like to you? We see ourselves as a global marketplace for work placements in start-ups and SMEs. In five years, I hope that we’re operational in multiple countries working with hundreds of thousands of candidates and businesses to find internships, jobs and edging closer to our goal of getting an ‘enternship’ to be recognised in the dictionary! In the long term where would you like to see your business? I see Enternships as very much a ‘pre-LinkedIn’ platform. Most students/graduates have little or no work experience and thus don’t always invest in setting up a professional profile on a site such as LinkedIn. However, with Enternships we want to be with them from the time they’re at college to help secure work experience/internships and then if they choose to go onto university then they will use Enternships to gain more experience and ‘up-skill’ themselves. Ultimately, I hope that young people will find Enternships a useful tool to discover their passions so that upon leaving education they are better prepared for the world of work. Ideally we can inspire young people to not only take a job but make a job by setting up their own businesses.

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AsianWomen

Achievement Awards 2012 of

NOW IN ITS 13TH YEAR, THE ASIAN WOMEN OF ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS SEEK TO HOLD UP THE UNSUNG HEROINES OF BRITISH LIFE IN HIGH ESTEEM. THIS YEAR, SPONSORED BY ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, AND WITH THE JUDGING PANEL CHAIRED BY SIR NICHOLAS YOUNG, CEO OF THE BRITISH RED CROSS, THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THESE AWARDS ARE GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH.

With nominees from diverse areas of sport, business, public service and entertainment, Pinky Lilani, cofounder (and interviewee, page 32), said of this year’s shortlist: “These awards not only enable us to celebrate the successes and achievements of Britain’s most exceptional Asian women, but they also give us the opportunity to recognise the next generation waiting in the wings.” AWM took a closer look at the shortlist in anticipation for the awards and picked out some interesting candidates for the trophies. As AWM looks to champion Asian success in all walks of life, not just business, we have chosen to profile, and therefore highlight, the diverse range of achievement that British Asian women show in society today. The awards are held on the 16th of May 2012, very best of luck to all those shortlisted.

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Jagdeep Rai, corporate director, Barclays Bank Jagdeep Rai is Barclays’ corporate area director for Heathrow and Slough, responsible for the leadership of 20 employees. She has risen through the ranks at the bank and is a previous nominee for “Relationship Manager of the Year” in the London region. She brings strong community values to her work, and has established the Heathrow and Slough forum events. She also takes part in charity challenges and mentoring programmes. Prior to the ceremony AWM asked Jagdeep how important it is to recognise the success of Asian women in the workplace. “I think it is hugely important that we take the time to recognise and celebrate the valuable contribution of talented Asian women to the many facets of business and society in general. Not only does it prove that Asian women have really come a long way over the years, it recognises the success of brilliant accomplished Asian women who perhaps more importantly can act as role models and provide powerful inspiration for others.”

Reena Bagga, operational governor, Her Majesty’s Prison Service Reena Bagga is a 29-year-old prison service governor, a passionate and dedicated individual who strives to achieve the highest results. Working for the Prison Service has allowed Reena to prove herself in one of the most difficult of environments, a challenge that’s further increased by being one of very few young, Asian female governors. Committed to personal self-improvement, she’s studying for her second Masters degree,

Siobhan Benita, London mayoral candidate, Independent Siobhan Benita joined the civil service in 1996 and worked at the very heart of government for more than 15 years. As a senior official at the Cabinet Office she led major projects across government and has worked with ministers and officials at the very highest levels. Siobhan resigned from her senior Whitehall job to run in the London Mayoral election. She is not a politician. She is a successful working mum who believes that the Mayor of London should represent people, not political parties, and allow all voices are heard.

Kiran Sharma, owner & managing director, KIKIT Entertainment

Zarghuna Kargar, journalist, BBC World Service

Kiran Sharma launched her artist management agency, KIKIT Entertainment, in 2005 and within six years has built a business with a turnover of £17 million. Through her Intelligensia business, she is also manager of the global music icon, Prince. At only 36, Kiran is an important figure in the mainstream music industry. She is fiercely proud that she has achieved this as a British Asian woman and she is keen to encourage and inspire other women to beat the odds and go for their dreams.

Zarghuna Kargar was born in Kabul in 1982 and later fled for refuge in Pakistan, where she studied at a refugee university in Peshawar, attending a journalism course organised by the BBC. In 2001, her family sought asylum in the UK and she started working for the BBC World Service Pashto Section. Zarghuna later joined the team on the ground-breaking programme Afghan Woman’s Hour as producer and presenter in 2004. Today she still works on current affairs programmes for the BBC Afghan Service, frequently covering topics relating to women’s issues. AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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Kala Patel, managing director, Kiddycare On identifying a gap in the market for childcare, Kala Patel set up her first centre in 1984, at the age of 22. As a young mother, she set about converting unused office space into a 15-place nursery. Demand was so high that she soon had to move premises, and the rest is history. She now runs daycare for children over five sites (including the Royal Mail nursery in London) employing 50 staff and providing childcare for 320 children.

Kamal Rahman, partner, Mishcon de Reya Kamal Rahman is one of the UK’s leading immigration lawyers, who became a partner at Mishcon de Reya in 1998. Her work covers investors, exceptional or complex nationality applications, economic citizenship, rights under European Law, and family as well as employment-related immigration. She also advises high net-worth clients from a wide range of countries who require bespoke residency, citizenship and travel solutions.

Leila Walker, programme manager, Tony Blair Faith Foundation Leila Walker is Face to Faith programme manager for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF), a secondary school programme bringing young people from more than 17 countries together to learn about each other’s faiths and beliefs, challenging stereotypes and misconceptions. Before joining TBFF, Leila led a team of researchers at education charity, Futurelab, to promote creative use digital technology to help socially deprived young people to gain more from traditional education systems.

Uravsi Naidoo, CEO, International Federation, Netball Associations Urvasi Naidoo is a sports lawyer who previously worked for the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002 and the International Cricket Council as their first inhouse lawyer. Today, she is CEO of the International Federation of Netball Associations. In a voluntary capacity she is a trustee to Sporting Equals, the only organisation working across the UK to promote opportunities for black and ethnic minorities in sport and physical activity. She is one of the few Asian women involved in the governance and administration of sports both in the UK and Internationally.

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FULL SHORTLIST: AWA IN ARTS & CULTURE

AWA IN PUBLIC SERVICE

Shoto Banerji – textiles designer

Rachel Abraham – associate director of education, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Uzma Hasan – producer Amber Khokhar – artist, Amber Khokhar Art & Design Zain Masud – assistant fair director, Art Dubai Indhu Rubasingham – artistic director, The Tricycle Theatre Gauri Sharma Tripathi – Kathak artist

Ranjana Bell – executive director, rba Equality and Diversity Siobhan Benita – London Mayoral Candidate, Independent Sayyeda Khan – HR professional, HM Revenue and Customs Li Quan – founder & director, Save China’s Tigers Mei Sim Lai – principal, LeiPeters & Co

AWA IN BUSINESS Shiela Ajimal – managing director & associate general counsel, J.P. Morgan

The Social & Humanitarian Award Rena Amin – head of medicine management, Greenwich PCT Ummul Choudhury – trustee and director, Bidna Capoeira

Nosheena Mobarik – joint chief executive, M Computer Technologies

Jillian Haslam – director, Help Yourself Associates

Zaida Patel – solicitor, Equitas Law

Sabiha Rumani Malik – founder and president, Sanghata Global

Jagdeep Rai – corporate director, Barclays Bank

Leila Walker – Programme Manager, Tony Blair Faith Foundation

Nisha Paul – trustee, Magic Bus UK

Vicky Shu – lead project engineer, Shell UK

AWA – ENTREPRENEUR

AWA – YOUNG ACHIEVER Reena Bagga – operational governor, Her Majesty’s Prison Service

Farida Gibbs – CEO & partner, GibbsS3

Jia-Yan Gu – researcher, BT Group

SungJoo Kim – chairperson & CEO, SungJoo Group and MCM Holdings AG

Neha Jain – executive director, Goldman Sachs

Kavita Oberoi – managing director, Oberoi Consulting Vanita Parti – founder, Blink Brow Bar Kala Patel – managing director, Kiddicare

Jaz Rabadia – energy manager, Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Tulip Siddiq – councillor, London Borough of Camden Lisha Xie – subsurface & wells project manager, Shell UK

Kiran Sharma – owner & managing director, KIKIT Entertainment

AWA IN SPORT AWA IN THE MEDIA Zarghuna Kargar – journalist, BBC World Service Sangita Myska – news correspondent, BBC News Tasnim Nazeer – freelance journalist, writer and author Monisha Saldanha – head of brand extensions, Guardian News & Media

Salma Bi – executive director, Warwickshire County Cricket Ashpal Kaur Bhogal – England Hockey Anne Keothavong – Tennis Player Urvasi Naidoo – CEO, International Federation of Netball Associations Saira Tabasum – amateur boxer and boxing coach, Bradford College & Police Boxing Academy

Rozina Sini – news presenter, BBC Asian Network Xinran Xue – author

AWA IN THE PROFESSIONS Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh – solicitor, Hamilton Burns W.S. Solicitors Shreelata Datta – senior registrar, NHS and director, British Medical Association Dr Shivani Patel – consultant Orthodontist, Elleven Kamal Rahman – partner, Mishcon de Reya

Good Luck to all the Nominees

Henna Riaz – managing partner, 360 Audit Rukhsana Yaqoob – independent freelance educational consultant AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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2012 review:

Asiana Bridal Show

NOW IN ITS 11TH YEAR, ONE OF THE WELL-ESTABLISHED AND BEST-ATTENDED WEDDING EXHIBITIONS IS ASIANA BRIDAL SHOW. AWM WENT ALONG ON A FREEZING SUNDAY MORNING IN JANUARY TO SEE WHAT IT HAD IN STORE.

The buzz, and queue for that matter, was evident at this year’s Asiana Bridal Show, held in the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel overlooking the River Thames. Many excited brides and grooms, and their families, roamed the exhibition halls and corridors in order to meet the suppliers that would be key to making their dream wedding come true. More than 100 exhibitors packed their offerings into the expo. Fashion designers, make-up artists, jewellers, photographers, cake makers, mehndi artists, caterers, florists and DJs all combined to make the event a feast for the eyes; and in some cases the stomachs also. This was coupled by a fashion show to showcase the latest trends for the happy couple. Asiana Bridal Show, along with its 2012 partners Sunrise Radio and Madhu’s, has been running this expo for the last 10 years. The Asian

wedding market is now thought to be worth approximately £300 million, and so it is only natural that new competitors are always keen to maximise in this lucrative market. New exhibitors such as the midlandsbased Johal Catering were trying the show for the first time, alongside seasoned veterans such as jewellery designer Kyles Collection. After the show, Nisha Dadi, co-founder of Kyles Collection, alongside her husband Malkit, told AWM that Kyles Collection has exhibited at Asiana Bridal Show for a decade, and that since the show the company has “received many orders from brides”. This year, the jewellery designers are going to concentrate on increasing its range of new items, and other retail outlets. Kyles Collection also used the fashion show to promote its new jewellery. Other participants in this include AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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smooth taste of the liquid with the signature Johnnie Walker hint of smoke makes it very well suited to the Asian palate. Furthermore, Johnnie Walker has had a long history of trade with Asia and India in particular: we began trading in India in 1883 and we still have records of our advertising campaigns from the late 1930s and early 1940s. So Johnnie Walker has had a long and illustrious history with Asia and has subsequently been adored by Asian consumers both in Asia and in the diaspora.

Have you had good feedback since attending Asiana?

fashion designers RDC London, Mongas, Ziggi Studio, Ekta Solanki and Khushboo’s by Chand.

Walk the line One of the most noticeable stands belonged to Johnnie Walker. Set with a bar, and many barmen, the team from the whiskey brand taught many of the show attendees the best way to taste their whiskey, with a pepper and strawberry. Kabir Suharan, brand ambassador for Johnnie Walker, told AWM why he thinks the Asian market is perfect for this established brand.

In what way is the Black Label different from the other brands, and why did you decide the Asian market would be good for this particular brand? Johnnie Walker is the number one selling scotch whisky brand in the world and the Black Label is one of the core drivers for the brand. As a blend of 40 different whiskies all aged for a minimum of 12 years, it is renowned as the ultimate benchmark by which other blended scotch whiskies are measured. The rich,

The Asiana Bridal Show was a tremendous success for us – we mentored over 500 people with a taste of the Johnnie Walker Black Label alongside our new limited edition bottling of Johnnie Walker Double Black. Consumers relished the opportunity to understand more about the Johnnie Walker brand, as well as the opportunity to try a new and innovative way to drink it: we showcased the liquid with strawberries and black pepper! Since the show we’ve seen a big uplift in sales of Johnnie Walker Black Label.

What are your plans for the next 12 months with the Blue Label brand? We have 28 scotch whisky distilleries of the 100 or so that exist in Scotland, so Johnnie Walker has a fantastic pool of tastes and flavours to choose from when it comes to blending whisky. We’re very excited about the launch of our two new products Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve and Johnnie Walker Platinum Label. Platinum Label follows in the footsteps of previous Johnnie Walker ‘private blends’. Created by master blender Jim Beveridge, the 18 year old blend is described as delicate and smoky, reflecting the strong, sweet and elegant Speyside style of other Johnnie Walker whiskies. On the other hand, Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve is inspired by the 190-year old lineage of the Johnnie Walker story and created using Beveridge’s favourite whiskies, including casks of Clynelish malt whisky. AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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How are you hoping to grow the Madhu’s business in 2012? Madhu’s is known for being pioneers in the Asian catering and service market as we have introduced various styles of service that other catering companies, new and old, now offer. There is always room to grow and especially with a company like Madhu’s where we do not believe in becoming “Jack of all trades” and instead be the “Master of One”. Many other catering companies out there can and will offer you every single whistle and bell under the sun, whereas Madhu’s will stick to what we are best known for and exceed in it. No need to mention the fact that we cater for majority of the big Asian VIP events taking place in the capital, as well as outside of London. We supply food to Harvey Nichols and are approved by HRH the Prince of Wales, as the official Asian caterers at Windsor Castle and to further that list, Madhu’s is also appointed by the House of Parliaments as official caterers. AWMs editor Jo (right) with Madhu’s Poonam Ball (left)

A taste for success One of the biggest and busiest stands belonged to the well-established caterer Madhu’s, which is also partners the Asiana Bridal Show. AWM went along and spoke to head of PR, Nina Pirani, about their thoughts on the show and what the caterer is looking forward to in 2012.

Do you exhibit at Asiana every year? Madhu’s is one of three partners at the Asiana Bridal Show and the exhibition is regarded as our biggest event of the year, with thousands of people walking through the doors of the swanky Park Plaza Riverbank throughout the day. In 2011, we marked the 10th anniversary of the Asiana Bridal Show and it is remarkable how the exhibition has reached heights throughout the years. Madhu’s always participates in the Bridal Show along with the crème de la crème suppliers in other fields from bridal fashion, bridal make-up, decorators, photographers, DJ road shows, cake suppliers – it’s a one stop shop for any bride looking to organise their big day.

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2011, Madhu’s introduced the new Thali service, an ancient Indian traditional way of dining, which has been adapted to the modern client / guest of the 21st century. Also, in 2011, we increased the number of venues that we cater at as we added two more hotels, The Landmark London and Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. So far in 2012, we have increased our list with the not-yet-opened Hilton London Wembley. What do you view as the biggest challenge for the business in 2012?Every year we hear stories of a number of new catering companies that have opened but equally we hear of a number of catering companies that close down due to various reasons. Madhu’s has been in business for more than 30 years and our position in the market has remained stable, if not exceeded new heights. The current economical climate is the biggest, if not the ultimate challenge for any business, and needless to say, Madhu’s is not an exception to that rule. However, for the past three years running, since the recession began, we have still met our targets and still do more than 250 events a year while maintaining quality of both food and service.


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PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON AND 40 OTHER BUSINESS LEADERS LIVE IN LONDON 2012 Extraordinary times call for extraordinary commitment and if you are truly determined to take your business forward this is the place to be.

ENTREPRENEURS 2012: THE CONFERENCE OF THE YEAR.

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Entrepreneurs 2012 is an unprecedented event bringing together experts from around the world, top business leaders, the best trainers and University Professors all with one goal:

TO TAKE YOUR BUSINESS FORWARD. Join: - President Bill Clinton [Founder of the William J.Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States] + Many more world-class speakers Blak Pearl enables the entire business community to gather together on a grand scale, learn from each other and the speakers and celebrate all that is good about business in each area.


EDUCATE, ILLUMINATE, FASCINATE: the de Maria Foundation: FINANCIAL POWER COUPLE MARCUS AND MUDRIKA DE MARIA HAVE BEEN TEACHING ADULTS THE THEORY BEHIND WEALTH FOR MANY YEARS. NOW, THEY HAVE DECIDED IT IS TIME TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL.

For almost 10 years, Mudrika de Maria and her husband Marcus have been teaching the public the very wealth strategies that led to their own financial freedom. Today, Marcus is a well respected stock market and wealth educator, speaker, trainer and author. But it wasn’t always like this. Not long ago, Marcus was living on his brother’s floor and over £100,000 in debt. However, by immersing himself with wealth creation education he came across a formula for financial wealth. Applying this formula, he became financially independent in a few short years. As a result, Marcus started to share this formula with others and Investment Mastery, now one of the leading wealth creation and education companies in the UK, was born. Marcus now teaches this same formula to the public, and, with his wife

Mudrika, has set up a charity to teach wealth education in schools, the de Maria Foundation. Since wealth education is not taught in schools, Marcus and Mudrika have allowed teenagers to accompany their parents on wealth creation programmes for the last six years. “Can you imagine learning what you know now about money as a teenager? I don’t know about you, but we just didn’t discuss it!” exclaims Mudrika. Mudrika saw how well teenagers reacted to the simple concepts taught by Investment Mastery, and so created the de Maria foundation in a bid to leave a legacy of financial freedom. “Most people don’t really understand what money is, how to make it, how to keep it, how to manage it and how to grow it. It is not rocket science – just another part of our lives that most people in UK seem to ignore … at AsianWealthMag.co.uk |

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their peril,” she says. “And just look at the financial mess the majority of people are in. And the situation seems to be getting worse.” The first project is to teach basic money techniques in schools. “Schools are very keen to teach it and the teachers themselves are keen to learn,” explains Mudrika. The first de Maria Foundation project is called Wealth4Teens, which will roll out in May 2012. In the beginning, the charity will go into schools and teach the wealth education that is desperately lacking on the UK national curriculum. Mudrika de Maria and charity administrator Cat Willcock

At the second, more important stage, the foundation wants to teach teachers so that they can pass on the knowledge to each new generation that comes through their classroom. “I want it set up so that we only go in once and the school can then take over without us coming back,” says Mudrika. In the short term, the charity is geared up to successfully run the Wealth4Teens programmes in secondary schools, and have parents and teachers coming together to promote wealth education and financial management to the students and teens all across the UK. As a charity, the foundation will be raising funds so it can offer this to as many schools, parents and teens as possible and offer apprenticeships and scholarships to the students who complete the programme. “We are experts in wealth creation and so the greatest goal is to have students transitioning into university and the workforce with choice, confidence and the mindset to build assets and passive incomes whilst working and running businesses that they love and that make them happy,” says Mudrika. The de Maria Foundation is looking for founding members to help it achieve its aims and mission, as well as partnerships and relationships with local authorities, schools, businesses and individuals who share its vision.

THE DE MARIA FOUNDATION AT A GLANCE The true purpose of the Wealth4Teens programme is to educate and instil a financial responsibility and positive/ confident mindset so UK school graduates are equipped with the purpose, passion and the tools they need for financial success. THE DE MARIA FOUNDATION HAS THREE STRATEGIES: To provide the wealth education that is not taught in schools through the Wealth4Teens programme aimed at 13-19 year olds. This is delivered in schools and is supported by a ‘Teach the Teacher’ workshop that allows schools to train a teacher to continue the wealth education programme themselves. Wealth4 Teens is supported by a second workshop ‘Wealth Workout for Parents & Teachers’, so there are maximum results through the collaboration of schools, parents and communities. To empower and educate women and mothers through wealth education so they can create wealth for their families and communities and become role models for generations to come. Mudrika and Marcus de Maria believe that by bringing wealth success to women, a bigger wealth is brought to communities, countries and the world. To provide choice to young girls and women in underdeveloped regions and countries, starting in India and continuing internationally. As the de Maria Foundation grows, it aims to grow internationally so it can offer opportunity and education through grants and funding for various projects and initiatives.

For more information, or to get involved, contact Cat Willcock on: cat@investment-mastery.com

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Asian Women of Achievement Awards

Date: 16 May 2012 Venue: London Hilton Park Lane In its 13th year, the Asian Women of Achievement Awards will be held at the prestigious London Hilton Park Lane on 16th May 2012. Organised by Caspian Media and sponsored by RBS, the event will include leading entrepreneurs, Mayoral hopefuls, public servants, sporting champions and media personalities on this year’s shortlist. For more information: www.awa.realbusiness.co.uk events@caspianmedia.com (0)207 045 7600

Entrepreneurs 2012

Date: 14-16 November 2012 Venue: London (TBC) Blak Pearl are back with it’s forthcoming event ‘Entrepreneurs 2012’. Following the success of ‘Business 2012’ earlier this year which included speakers from Sir Richard Branson, Lord Alan Sugar, James Caan to name but a few, it’s forthcoming event which includes Bill Clinton will no doubt be another raving success. The three day event held in London includes seminars and workshops, perfect for the business and entrepreneurial community. For more information : www.entrepreneurs2012.co.uk info@Entrepreneurs2012.co.uk (0)115 8232 649

MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival

Date: 19-22 September 2012 Venue: Sheffield (TBC) Whether you’re a start-up, a high-growth business or a wellestablished business looking for inspiration and ideas, MADE is for you. The event promises to include high profile entrepreneurs, VC’s and other funders, Government ministers, leading journalists and broadcasters.

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It’s the perfect place to get networked, learn from experts, and have a good time. For more information : www.madefestival.com info@sevenhillsgroup.co.uk (0)20 7199 2200

The ASIAN Awards

Date: 9 October 2012 Venue: The Grosvenor House hotel (London) The Asian Awards were born out of a simple vision; to create an event which would honour only the very highest levels of achievement from within the worldwide Asian community; to create one of the most important events of its kind ever to be staged. A pioneering, unique and prestigious event, The Asian Awards is the only event that pays tribute to Asian success across all walks of life; emphasising inspiring achievements and highlighting inspirational role models in the fields of business, sport, entertainment, philanthropy and popular arts and culture. This year’s event will be held in early October. For more information : www.theasianawards.com Hemani.Seda@ubm.com (0)207 234 8732

The ASIAN WHO’S WHO Awards

Date: TBC Venue: TBC Since 1987, the Asian Who’s Who has chosen the ‘Asian of the Year’ award to recognise and honour the outstanding contribution by an individual to the Asian community. This much coveted award has become well established and respected amongst the community and the press. The award ceremony itself takes place at the annual book launch. For more information www.asianwhoswho.com (0)20 8550 3745


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The Business, Sucess & Inspiration Magazine For Today's Asian Entrepreneur

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