Winners included, BBC News Economics Editor, Faisal Islam for Achievement in Media, Arts & Culture; Woman of the Year, Neeta Patel, CEO of New Entrepreneurs Foundation; and Harjit Singh Bhania, head coach of the men’s GB wheelchair basketball team for Sports Personality of the Year. The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award went to philanthropist and business tycoon, Anil Agarwal, Chairman of Vedanta Resources, while London Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal received the Editor’s Choice Award for Public Services.
Hosts, actor Nitin Ganatra and Nisha Parmar, semi-finalist of BBC’s Masterchef UK, were joined by business tycoons, entrepreneurs and dignitaries, including Jeffery Archer, whose skilful auctioneering helped to raise a staggering £150,000 for this year’s chosen charity Yuva Unstoppable, a youth movement in India that works towards educating underprivileged children.
The evening stood witness to a true celebration of 'inclusivity' across Britain's communities. The winners symbolised the real spirit of today's inclusive, multicultural and diverse Britain, representing various South Asian communities.
An integral part of British life, the Asian community plays an important role in shaping the country’s prosperity. Known as the People’s Choice Awards, the Asian Achievers Awards celebrate the outstanding work of South Asian individuals from across a spectrum of backgrounds and professions.
CB Patel, Publisher/Editor, ABPL Group and Chairman, Asian Achievers Awards said, “This year our theme is inclusivity. As you know inclusivity is not just about diversity, but about being inclusive of everyone. That’s why we have so many shortlisted candidates this year from the LGBTQ+ community. Today historically, it also completes one year of decriminalisation of homosexuality in India - a step in the right direction under the leadership of our Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Societal exclusion, identity seclusion and isolation from the society are still the stark realities faced by many individuals, and for Asians it’s even harder. So, our job as always, is to set an example, not only through our publications of Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar, but especially through today’s Asian Achievers Awards - campaigning for individual liberation and rewarding people for striving so hard against any odds.
"And in our effort to do so, I must thank the inputs from all our readers and supporters for nominating such outstanding candidates and our independent panel of judges who did their job so brilliantly. I would like to congratulate all the winners of our 19th annual Asian Achievers Awards. Their remarkable contributions to society and community have had a profound impact and I take great pride in highlighting their accomplishments.”
The Life Time Achievement Award was given to metals and mining magnate Anil Agarwal, who turned a tiny scrap metal business into London-listed Vedanta Resources with copper, zinc and aluminium assets. Vedanta Resources is today one of the top ten mining giants in the world, with revenues of USD 15.4 billion in 2017.
After winning the award he added, “I congratulate Asian Voice and Gujarat Samachar for the work that they have been doing in keeping the Asian community together.”
Speaking at the Awards, London's Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal who won the Editor's Award for Public Services said, “This award is a pat on the back. I have been attending this award for the last 15 years where I have met very inspiring people and it is great to celebrate the achievements and contributions of the Asian Community. We have contributed immensely to this country’s socio-economic fabric.”
Born in India, Rajesh moved to London in 2001. As an entrepreneur he founded RationalFX in 2005, and Xendpay in 2014, both companies utilising technology to reduce the cost of international money transfer for businesses and individuals.
Editor’s Award for Contribution to Thoracic Surgery was given to Dr. Nilesh U Patel, MD who specialises in cardiac surgery in New York. He has over 33 years of experience in the field of medicine. He is affiliated with numerous hospitals in the USA. Dr. Patel is well known for the transabdominal approach to bypass surgery, which reduces cardiac complications. He is also a pioneer of robotic bypass surgery and has trained more than 30 surgeons all around the world. He is Chief of Cardiac surgery in two prestigious hospitals, Saint Michael's Medical Centre New York and St Mary's General Hospital New Jersey.
Pradip Dhamecha OBE received the Editor’s Choice Award for Community Service, Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship.
Pradip is the Chief Executive of the Dhamecha Group, and manages the business along with brother Manish and brother-in-law Mukesh Vithlani. The group supplies to convenience stores, off-licenses and pubs, and the London based business is worth £35mn according to The Sunday Times Rich List.
The Dhamechas also own Megnum Properties, which had £5.3m net assets in 2006-07. With other assets such as the £5m Kolak Snack Foods, the Dhamecha family is worth £75m after tax. Their philanthropy, community commitments are well known and they are renowned for making many contributions to charities.
Pradip received an OBE for his services to exports, economic growth and philanthropy in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2018.
The evening’s entertainment included performance from Epika Dance Troupe, an international Bollywood Fusion Group, Rosie and Adam, acrobatic figure skating duo from Blackpool UK, who were semi finalists at Britain’s Got Talent and a jaw dropping cycle balancing act that left the audience in awe.
Achievement in Community Services
Onkardeep Singh MBE
Achievement in Media, Arts & Culture
Businessperson of the Year
Entrepreneur of the Year
Professional of the Year
Sports Personality of the Year
Harjit Singh Bhania OBE
Uniformed, Civil and Public Services
Woman of the Year
Lifetime Achievement Award
Editor’s Award for Public Services
Rajesh Agrawal, London Deputy Mayor for Business
Editor’s Award for Contribution to Thoracic Surgery
Dr. Nilesh U Patel MD
Editor’s Choice Award for Community service, Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship
Pradip Dhamecha OBE