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TOP BUSINESS HONOURS FOR ASIAN TALENT: Asian Community Crowned at Lloyds TSB Southern Jewel Awards

Some of the brightest stars of the British Asian community were named on Saturday night, at the Lloyds TSB Southern Jewel Awards, including one of the region’s most successful entrepreneurs, Anoup Treon, Chairman of European Care Group, and Head of Pharmacy at University of Hertfordshire, Professor Soraya Dhillon, MBE.

Now in its sixth year, the event was held on Saturday 4th October 2008 at the London Hilton, Park Lane. The winners were chosen from thousands of nominations from across the region, spanning business, education, politics and the charity sector. The panel of judges for the event faced a tough challenge selecting the final winners from this high calibre selection of nominees.

Eight coveted Lloyds TSB Jewel Awards were announced on the night in the following categories: Business & Commerce, Entrepreneur Excellence, Healthcare & Education, Professional, Public Service, Retail Food & Franchise and the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Jewel Award. A new award was also launched this year for the Future Leaders and a special award for the Southern region, Asian Corporate 100. The winners for the Lloyds TSB Southern Jewel Awards were:

The Business & Commerce Jewel Award:

Anoup Treon, Chairman of European Care Group. His career spanned 8 years as a chartered accountant before he co-founded Healthsave, a health insurance company that pioneered in pre-authorisation and elimination of claim forms in the UK PMI market. This was then followed in 1997 by the founding of Union Healthcare, which sat within the long-term care sector. As a result of its success, senior management bought-out the company in 2000. The serial entrepreneur then moved on to establish European Care Group, a pan–European group providing health and social care for children and adults. European Care Group today operates 85 care homes, 3 schools and a number of specialist services. The company employs over 4,000 people and cares for 4,500 service users, making it a leading independent care provider in the UK.

The Entrepreneur Jewel Award:

Mohammad Adil, Chairman of Adil Group set up the first Asian franchise fast food chain in 1969. His first branch was launched in Willesden and then gradually expanded to the North of England. His growth strategy was acquisitive; he would convert restaurants to Burger King Franchises. Today Mr. Adil also owns other leading franchises such as for KFC and Costa. His recent acquisition of KFC restaurants were valued in excess of £24million. Mr Adil holds a large portfolio of commercial and residential properties and actively contributes and supports his local community through charity events and donations. In addition, his contribution is well recognised in the community and he has received several honorary awards from the local community for his work in the UK and Pakistan.

The Healthcare & Education Jewel Award:

Nilesh Soneji and Jamal Salloum of Dollond & Aitchison (D&A’s) run what is today, one of Dollond & Aitchison (D&A’s) most profitable retail stores in the Country. They acquired their first store in Hammersmith and along with their dedicated staff, were soon able to build their reputation as a trustworthy and professional optical supplier. In June 2007, D&A recognised their success and approached them to open another store in Teddington, which within the first year, began to exceed targets by more than 50%. They attribute the success of both stores to the continual delivery of superior levels of service to its customers, within a friendly atmosphere. Nilesh and Jamal now have a client base of over 4,000 patients and hope to continue to grow the businesses in the coming years.

The Professional Jewel Award:

Hassan Khan is the Senior Partner of The Khan Partnership which he founded in 2004. The Khan Partnership is now acknowledged as the market leader in tax and international commercial matters, civil and criminal fraud, commercial litigation and Islamic finance. The highly successful, dynamic practice has over 50 staff. With a core expertise in complex cross-border commercial and fraud litigation, Hassan handled disputes involving sums of over £900 million in 2007. He also has extensive experience of international oil, gas and tourism projects in the Middle East and has contributed to the community by lending his diverse knowledge as a government advisor.

The Public Service Jewel Award:

Professor Soraya Dhillon, MBE is the Head of Pharmacy at University of Hertfordshire.

With a career spanning over 20 years in pharmacy education and research, recognised both nationally and internationally, she has excelled in the field of Higher Education and Healthcare. She is the first Asian Head of a School of Pharmacy and pioneered the development of the new School at the University of Hertfordshire. Professor Dhillon MBE is also the force behind the MPharm degree, which she launched back in 2005. With a strong team of over 30 academic staff and 400 undergraduate pharmacy students, this is one of the most popular courses in the School and by June 2009, the school will see their first set of graduates for the MPharm degree.

The Professor has excelled in her role as Non-Executive Director for over 15 years and she is also currently Chairman of the Luton & Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Further accolades include her being appointed Fellowship at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in 2007, being awarded a Gold Medal for outstanding services to the Profession in May 2008 and the most coveted of all, an MBE for her outstanding services and dedication to Healthcare in 2007.

Retail Food & Franchise Jewel Award:

Aamir Ahmad of Dwell Furniture is one of the most acclaimed entrepreneurs in the retail industry. As founder and CEO of furniture mail order catalogue Ocean, he ran the business for seven successful years before launching Dwell Furniture in 2003. The furniture retailer has broken the mould within the industry and has attracted new clients through multi-channels, including mail order and online, as well as a small store in Balham, South London. Over the past 4 years, Dwell has strengthened and grown into a significant retailer, with an online store and seven retail outlets with a further four opening in late 2008. Dwell Furniture has produced an extensive catalogue with mailing numbers currently running at 1.2million per annum. The combined turnover for the company has reached more than £15m with active buyers reaching an impressive 65,000.

Asian Corporate 100:

Christopher Hyman, Chief Executive of the Serco Group Plc. has propelled Serco Group Plc to one of the world’s leading service companies, by working in partnership with its customers and staff. Responsible for setting the vision and strategy of the Group, he has instilled a strong corporate culture, which is driven by innovation. The main focus of the business is to help governments improve services across many areas of public life, from justice to healthcare, education to defence. Christopher graduated from Natal University in Durban, South Africa and qualified as a chartered accountant, serving with Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young before joining Serco in 1994 as the European Finance Director. He was appointed Group Company Secretary in 1996, Corporate Finance Director in 1997 and Group Finance Director in April 1999.

Christopher is also chairman of the Prince of Wales' charity In Kind Direct, and a non-executive director for Habitat for Humanity, Africa Foundation and the Borneo Tropical Rainforest Foundation. Earlier this year, Christopher was appointed National Ambassador by the Prince of Wales for Business in the Community and is also a member of the UK Government's Honours Advisory Committee for Economy.

Lifetime Achievement Award:

Pinky Lilani of Spice Magic Ltd is one of Britian’s most passionate and inspirational supporters of women of all colours and creeds. She is the proud founder and chairman of The Asian Women of Achievement Awards, The Women of the Future Awards, The Women of the Future Economic Empowerment Summit, The Inspirational Women’s Network and The Women of Achievement Ambassadors Programme. Apart from being a strong and enthusiastic female activist, Pinky is an established food aficionado and the proud force behind Spice Magic, which runs a series of unique seminars providing an innovative approach to learning and team-building experiences for corporate groups. Pinky is also a mentor with the Prince’s Youth Business Trust, a member of the steering committee for the Cherie Blair foundation, a board member of Sapphire and a member of the Court of Brunel University. She is patron of the Asian Women’s Resource Centre, the National Black Police Association and the Westminster Society as well as being a celebrated speaker and expert on diversity issues and motivation.

Sudhakar Prabhu of Wilem Frischmann

Sudhakar Prabhu graduated from Bombay University, with a degree in Engineering. He then went on to pursue a distinguished post-graduate degree at Imperial College, London. He launched his career in a small engineering firm in London, where he rose quickly through the ranks, working on iconic projects such as CentrePoint and the Natwest Tower. By the age of 33 he was made the youngest ever Partner of the firm. In 1972, Sudhakar acquired the firm with Wilem Frischmann and diversified the company’s services into highways, railways and utilities, across Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia. The firm received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the pinnacle of British business achievement in 2006 and today boasts 1,200 staff worldwide.

Truett Tate, Group Executive Director, Wholesale & International Banking, Lloyds TSB, said: “The continued success story of British Asian firms is an inspiration to the wider business community. They are making their mark across fields as diverse as culture, finance, retail and professional services.

“Our sponsorship of the Jewel Awards is just one way that Lloyds TSB is helping to recognise and develop this success. We have established ourselves as a bank that is dedicated to serving Britain’s changing communities. We are continuing to develop our range of Islamic financial services and are always exploring new ways to meet the needs of our Asian customers.”

Khalid Darr, Chairman of the Carter Andersen (CA), organisers of the Lloyds TSB Jewel Awards, says: “Asian men and women are truly, breaking new ground in their professional careers and adding real value to the UK economy, this is what these awards set out to recognise.”

Lloyds TSB’s title sponsorship of the Jewel Awards is just one aspect of the bank’s continuing involvement with the UK’s fast growing Asian population. The bank has established itself at the forefront of banking services for the UK’s Asian community and has developed a unique understanding of its Asian customers. As well as specialist teams catering for the business needs of the UK’s Asian community, Lloyds TSB has developed a range of products and specialist services to meet the community’s unique financial requirements. These feature a range of Islamic banking services, including the Islamic Corporate Banking Account, and a tie-up with India’s second largest bank, ICICI Bank, to provide customers with free money transfers between the UK and India, as well as Rupee mortgages for Indian property purchases.

The Lloyds TSB Southern Jewel Awards was the last of three glittering award ceremonies celebrating the achievements of UK Asian businesses.

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