A dozen Asians among Britain’s best young entrepreneurs

April 25th, 2008 - 11:44 am ICT by admin  

London, April 25 (IANS) A dozen young Asians, most of them ethnic Indians, are in the Daily Telegraph’s Made It By 40 list of Britain’s best young entrepreneurs, using a yardstick the paper said they all understand - wealth. Heading the list - among several run by the paper this week - at number nine is Baljinder Kaur Boparan, who along with her husband Ranjit owns the chicken processing company Boparan Holdings. The family is said to be worth 130 million pounds ($250 million).

The others, with fortunes ranging from 56 to 106 million pounds, are:

* Mehan and Raj Sehgal of the fashion company Visage Holdings;
* Sanjay Vadera of the Fragrance Shop retail chain;
* Mayank Patel, who owns Currency Direct, a foreign exchange specialist;
* Sanjay Kumar of the textiles company Rajan Group;
* Arif and Munaf Patel, whose Faisaltex group of companies supplies socks, underwear and other children’s clothing to discount stores;
* Shafqat Rasul, who runs E-Net Computers, claimed to be the biggest buyer of DVD and CD-media in the world;
* Sandeep Chadha, whose Supreme Imports Group is one of the largest sellers of batteries in Britain;
* Raj Chatha, heads of the Halifax-based European Food Brokers, a major wine and beer company;
* Ajaz Ahmed, founder of Websign and interactive marketing agency AKQA, which employs over 650 people in New York, Washington DC, Amsterdam, Singapore, London and San Francisco.

All are 40 years or under, but their success does not surprise another former award-winning entrepreneur.

“These people are entrepreneurs, not businessmen. They love owning their businesses and hate being told what to do,” said Ab Banerjee, chairperson of Immediance, a global online trading platform for institutional investors and company shareholders.

“Their story is part of the way Indian immigration has taken place,” said Banerjee, a former Financial Times director whose Raw Communications was named by The Times newspaper as the fastest growing British private technology company in 2001, when he was only 36.

“The first generation came here, found jobs and put their children through the best education. The second generation has now come into their own,” he said.

However, the Daily Telegraph’s list shows that many of the Asian entrepreneurs are still engaged in traditional Asian businesses: textiles, fashion, food processing and wholesaling.

Analysts predict the next generation of NRIs will dominate the world of finance. With a large number of them graduating from top universities to enter the banking and financial services sector, it’s only a matter of time before they start out on their own.

“They have their entrepreneurial drive already. They will be money managers,” said Banerjee.

The drive and determination are evident in the Daily Telegraph list.

Chadha came to Britain with his parents at the age of two, but fled back to India at 15 in order to escape racist bullying at boarding school. He was the only Asian at school, and wore a turban.

Returning after a year, he cut his hair and began helping out with his father’s business, selling fancy goods - imported clocks, watches, radios and toys - from the back of a van.

Today he is 40 and owns Supreme Imports, which sells 180 million batteries a year - roughly 20 percent of the British market - with a turnover of over 200 million pounds.

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