BY Itrat Bashir
As prominent British Asian businessman, Dr Rami Ranger CBE has become an icon for many inspiring young entrepreneurs who emulate him in becoming a successful enterpriser. Born in Gujranwala (now in Pakistan) and a son of an independence movement leader, Dr Ranger came to the UK to study law in 1971, but destiny had other plans in store for him.
Shortage of funds made him abandon his studies and started working at KFC. Hard work and dedication raised him to district manager of KFC, but unfortunately after seven years he was made redundant. In 1987, he decided to start his own business and launched a logistic company, Sea Air and Land Forwarding Limited with no money, and as they say the rest is history.
Rami is also now the chairman and founder of fast-moving consumer goods export company, Sun Mark Limited, which exports British supermarket products to over 120 countries worldwide. Sun Mark is the only company to be awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise for International Trade for five consecutive years.
In recognition of his services to business and the Asian community, Dr Ranger was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 (MBE) and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2016.
The passionate and hardworking businessman has a soft spot for youth aspiring to become successful entrepreneurs. In them, he sees shades of his own long journey to success and thus is keen to help by sharing his experiences with them. To assist students and graduates aspiring to become entrepreneurs, he donated £250,000 to set up Dr Rami Ranger CBE Centre for Graduate Entrepreneurship at the London Southbank University. Alongside the opening of the Centre, Dr Ranger established a fund to support enterprise excellence at LSBU, which enables the university to support students and recent alumni to develop their enterprise skills and achieve their entrepreneurial potential.
“Since my journey started from a humble background and on the way to success I was helped by many friends, I felt it was a time to give something back to aspiring youth who might be in a similar situation that I faced. Thus, the centre was set up, which offers a small amount of money to youth to set up their ventures. I also give talks to students so that they could learn from my experience.”
“Wars only bring destruction that India and Pakistan, for that matter any country, cannot afford, and thus the leaders of the Subcontinent should show prudence by engaging in peace initiatives.”
He has a clear message for the young enterprisers; they should adopt five principles that will bring success to them: self-respect, work ethic, commitment, vision and empathy. “These very principles transformed me from an ordinary person with a humble background to a successful entrepreneur. You don’t need a rich father or an elite education to be successful,” he said.
He is closely following the Mayor of London elections, which he is finding an interesting race. “We need a person in control of the British capital who can promote business activities in the city.”
Seeing London as a unique and world-renowned city of excellence, he feels the city deserves to become a citadel of business. “We need policies that attract business to the capital, which will generate wealth and jobs,” he added.
He expects the future Mayor to ensure that Londoners are not heavily taxed; London has already become an expensive place to live in. He believed by further bulging the social package, London will become unviable to live or do business. “Hence, it is imperative that taxes and business rates are kept low. The new Mayor should formulate policies that make London an attractive place for foreign investment,” he added.
On the burning issue of immigration, Dr Ranger believed that a balanced approach should be adopted in the matter; ‘Excess of anything is bad for you and thus the excess of immigration is not in the interest of the nation’. He said immigration should be permitted to the point that it is sustainable; the need to ensure that the existing socio-economic infrastructure can handle the immigrants.
Immigration should be permitted to the point that it is sustainable; the need to ensure that the existing socio-economic infrastructure can handle the immigrants.”
“The government should allow immigration in a controlled environment, granting visas only to those who can meet the skill shortage in the UK. No unskilled person should be permitted to enter, in order to maintain the existing level of wages in the UK.”
Dr Ranger is also the co-founder and chairman of the Pakistan, India and UK Friendship Forum. He has a strong conviction for a peace between the two rival countries, India and Pakistan. “It is important for the leaders of the two countries to improve bilateral relations to bring prosperity to their nations,” he said.
According to him, wars only bring destruction that India and Pakistan, for that matter any country, cannot afford, and thus the leaders of the Subcontinent should show prudence by engaging in peace initiatives. The money being spent on military expansions could be used for poverty alleviation and education. Trade and tourism are two huge potentials that could benefit both India and Pakistan.