By FATIMA PATEL
Leading Bradford businessman Amjad Pervez has been made an honorary fellow by Bradford College. The founding partner of ‘The Seafresh Food Group’, joins a distinguished group including writer Robert Swindells, founder of Bradford-based support group Trans Positive, Saorsa Tweedale, and the founder of BCB Radio, Mary Dowson.
Contributing to Business
Mr Pervez is being recognised for his contribution to business. He went from owning one corner shop to running both Seafresh food wholesaling, and Adams cash and carry businesses. The highly regarded enterprise employs nearly 300 people locally, and many more across the world through its global supply networks. His is a story of hard work, ambition and a drive to help others along the way. Having moved to Bradford from Pakistan as a 10-year-old, in 1970, he studied A Levels at Bradford College before gaining a degree in business and marketing, and then setting up his own business. He is a strong advocate of, and a huge contributor to Bradford’s economic growth. He has always credited the rich and diverse city for giving him a good education, complete acceptance, solid support and the opportunity to prosper.
A Network of Success
The networks he cultivated helped him to grow his business. Very much a ‘doer’, Amjad was one of the brains behind the former Bradford Regeneration Company. He played a leading role in the high-level lobbying group Bradford Breakthrough, charged with helping develop the current ‘Taste of Bradford campaign’, aiming to bring more business to the city in terms of new restaurants. This visionary entrepreneur is also chairman of Asian Trade Link Yorkshire. His board duties include Bradford Teaching Hospital Foundation NHS Trust, the Rainbow School Trust, Bradford Breakthrough, Bradford Matters, the Council for Mosques, and the National Asian Business Association. Amjad recently launched an ‘eco system of enterprise at the University of Huddersfield Buckly Innovation Centre. Its aim is to streamline both public and private support bodies, with business schools at the core, supported by a group of mentors made up of people who run enterprises.
Building in Business
His first taste of employment saw him become assistant marketing manager at the Yorkshire Building Society. From there, his father now aged 92, encouraged him to go into business. The rest they say is history. Amjad is now very much part of the Bradford furniture greatly respected by both business and local communities alike. Speaking exclusively to Asian Sunday he said: “I’m utterly delighted ,humbled and honoured to be nominated as the honorary fellow at Bradford College. The college has very fond memories for me as I studied here for some of my A levels. But we must never forget that the college is a great institution within an even greater entity which is the city of Bradford, which has been host to many many immigrant communities throughout its history.”
Amjad, recalled his father’s immigrant journey from being a young soldier serving in the British Indian Army, to later like many others from across the empire countries being invited to join in the post war effort, to rebuild the war torn economy, to fulfill the post war global demand by UK plc
“He decided to settle in London, but in 1969 when he brought us, his children to the UK he uprooted once more from one great city to this even greater city of Bradford” said Amjad
“One of the main reasons he cited for moving was that Bradford was a safe place which offered good quality of education for his children.
“So this great city gave me the education the skills the networks and the identity to succeed in life as an entrepreneur.”
Amjad has now taken a back seat from his businesses operationally so that he can give back to the city and its young diverse people by offering them help and support through being involved in many institutions ranging from business support, education health and building international trading links.
To which he concludes: “The title of honorary fellow of Bradford College is a valuable asset and a badge of honour that I’m sure will help me to do this task more effectively.”
Of the other fellows best-selling author Robert Swindells, has written more than 60 books for children. He left school with no O Levels but returned to education as a mature student and passed five O Levels at Bradford College. Mary Dowson’s honorary fellowship recognises her as being a real champion for her adopted city of Bradford. A director and one of the founders of the award-winning BCB radio – Bradford Community Broadcasting – she hails from London but has Bradford in her heart having arrived in the city as a student in the 1970s. Saorsa Tweedale’s award acknowledges her efforts to promote equality in Bradford and beyond, with particular appreciation for her work on transgender issues.
Bradford College Provost, Richard Thomas, said: “For our students the graduation ceremonies are the crowning event of their academic endeavour and achievement, and I look forward to celebrating with them. Many have overcome their own unique challenges on the journey towards completing their qualification. Many will have completed their studies whilst managing several competing demands such as family commitments or working, which makes their success even more remarkable. Graduation day is their special day celebrating their academic achievements, allowing them to look to the future with great pride. I would like to extend my thanks and congratulations to our honorary fellows who have accepted an honorary award from Bradford College.”
The quartet are due to receive their awards at graduation ceremonies at Bradford’s Life Centre in late November, alongside hundreds of students who have completed higher education courses at the college this year. For Amjad Pervez, the award is just a reward for his tireless work and dedication, helping to keep Bradford as one of the UK’s liveliest business hubs.