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FUTURE FOUNDERS: The graft and the reason behind it

Entrepreneurs 26-01-2021

Asian Wealth teams up with INVESTEC Private Bank to explore what the future holds for entrepreneurs and their businesses, and why they go to the lengths they do.

Businesses have had to side-step and pivot to survive in this hugely turbulent period. Yet, though our goals remain unchanged and within reach, we have all had to question our purpose.

We asked five established entrepreneurs from different sectors and industries on their thoughts on the future of their businesses – what they would like to achieve, and the ever-important question, why?

Shaz Memon, Digimax Dental – Philanthropy

“The last four years of business has been all about change. Our focus has been on designing, refining and pushing innovation. I wanted to design a business that serves my clients in a way that no company in my sector has been able to do to date.

When I set out on my business journey, I thought it was completely normal to work up to 18 hours a day, but four years ago I became a father to the most beautiful girl in the world. I had a new responsibility. All of my instincts kicked in to provide my daughter with everything she needed, including access to the best education.

I realised that my ultimate goal is to give back. I wanted the freedom to help others who don’t have the luxuries that we do. There are girls in India who have to walk 4-5 miles in the blazing heat every day to fetch water. For me that’s injustice, and something I wanted to change.  In 2019, I started my charity, ‘Wells on Wheels’ to help young girls in rural India to gain access to education.  We now have over 2000 girls attending school, and in the next 15 years, I want to empower a million girls to break the cycle of poverty through access to education and a fairer childhood. I want to set the right example for my daughter, so she can carry on a legacy of giving even after I’m gone.”

Anupa White, Principal. – Events

“This year has been very hard, and tested us immensely. The immediate future will be challenging for us due to numerous changes within the business environment surrounding Brexit and the lasting effects of Covid-19, with still more challenges to go. But I do feel that as a business, we’ve been flexible, adaptable, and reacted very well.

As a businessperson responsible for Principal’s strategy, I will continue to find ways to embrace the change and use the time to explore new opportunities within the events industry, tapping into areas we have not previously been involved in. It’s really important for us to continue to strive to do new things, look at new opportunities and look at things we haven’t really had to do before.

I’ve achieved a lot and there’s more to achieve. My purpose is to continue to grow and progress the company. It is important to continue to mentor and coach a motivated team of professionals at Principal too. I’m so immersed in my business and motivated, connected, love what I do, so that is the goal. My mindset is to stay focused, remain passionate, innovative and committed in maintaining a dynamic and forward-thinking company.”

Bruce and Paramjit Nagra, Crazy Gin – Drinks distillers

 “The landscape is constantly and rapidly changing due to Covid-19. Everything is in the air at the moment, and unfortunately some of our favourite bars, restaurants and brands may soon be gone for good. But, on a positive note, we’ve been given a chance to challenge the way business is done. This is a time for people to question how they want to do business and come up with new ideas. People are now being forced to enjoy their favourite drinks in the comfort of their own homes and therefore we need to focus on the consumer and how to elevate their experience.

For us, as a couple in business together, within the last four years, we’ve launched a business, quit our jobs, relocated across the country and been blessed with a two-year-old son. Working together does have its own challenges. We’re two very different people with different personalities and working practices. The biggest challenge is about trying to find the right balance. Where does home and business life start and end? What works well is having clearly defined roles that are based on our skills and having separate working spaces.  But most importantly it’s having a shared ultimate life goal and learning from our mistakes instead of beating ourselves over them. We do what we do so we can leave our little mark on the world through the joy of flavours and to teach our little one to grow up asking questions and to forever stay inquisitive.”

Hetal Patel, VAAI – Fashion

“The key to the future success of VAAI is in the power of building a brand based on solid foundation and exceptional customer service all in a socially responsible manner.

I hold the quote by Mahatma Gandhi close to my heart, ‘There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.’ These words, and Gandhi’s very actions encourage a sense of social responsibility that each and every one of us holds to our future.

The fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters, and I want to be part of the solution. At VAAI, I use sustainable biodegradable fabrics and have moved the majority of my production to the UK to reduce carbon footprint. We can all play a role, so I feel it is important for me to educate my clients so they know how to style their garments, get more use out of them, and ultimately gain value for their money. As a mother of two daughters growing up in a world of social media, I realise how much we all need to help educate future generations so that they too can be lead socially responsible lives.”

Miheer Mehta, Sterling Rose Homes (Group) – Property

“Being a seasoned planning and development entrepreneur, seeking new opportunities when market confidence is low is a great platform to gain growth, increase profit and gain greater rewards from taking risks.

I’m a natural optimist, so I always see the future as bright. From a business perspective, currently it is a challenging time, however, I am at a stage whereby the wider organisation can run itself, so I can spend my time more wisely on other passions and projects such as philanthropy and charitable causes. I have a deep passion to build a school to assist young entrepreneurs, something that is not currently taught in the national curriculum.

From a personal perspective, my three sons are at an age where they need more of my guidance and attention. As their father, I want to be a strong role model for them, to direct, guide and try and instil that hunger and drive in them. I would like to ensure all three have their own vision, drive, ethics, principles and values. Fundamentally, my key goal is to make sure my boys are guided on the right path in life.”

In Partnership with Investec Private Bank
Photographs by Rishan Pithwa
On location at Unit X, Covent Garden London

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