Asian entrepreneurship and business success were honoured Friday evening at the Asian Business Awards, the annual gathering of the UK’s wealthiest and most successful Asian businessmen and women.

The gala event, attended by H.E Mr Navtej Sarna as well as both Labour and Conservative candidates for the London Mayoral Elections, saw the newly appointed Indian High Commissioner honour the outstanding business achievements across industries. The High Commissioner paid tribute to the dedication and hard work of the business community and also unveiled the Asian Rich List 2016.

In what is usually a closely fought battle for the top spot on the annual listing of the UK’s 101 richest south Asians,

Credit: Edward Lloyd/Alpha Press
Labour candidate Sadiq Khan MP Credit: Edward Lloyd/Alpha Press

the indomitable Hinduja brothers seem to have firmly knocked all their potential competitors out of the ball park, with an overall increase in their net worth of £1billion, taking them to a total net worth of £16.5 billion.

The Asian Rich List was first published by AMG in 2010 and has been a strong indicator of the success and invaluable contribution of the South Asian community to the UK economy ever since. In 2010, the total combined net worth of the 101 millionaires was £40 billion, whilst this year it sits at £55.5 billion. The entry level back in 2010 was a mere £18 million, whilst this year the lowest entries are valued at a staggering £65 million.

With the entry point for this year’s list being set at £65 million, it’s hard to expect any ‘young guns’ to earn their way on to the list. However, these entrepreneurs are nothing if not determined, and whilst the list features eight octogenarians who are still actively running their multimillion pound companies, there are two 30-somethings who have battled their way on to the list.

Shailesh Solanki, executive editor of AMG and one of a panel of four experts who has examined British Asian wealth over the last year for the Asian Rich List, said: “This year’s Asian Rich List shows the remarkable resilience of Asian businesses. Despite another challenging year, the majority of businesses on the list continue to innovate and grow and have seen increases in their overall wealth.

These dynamic entrepreneurs, many of whom came here with nothing but the clothes on their back, have built multi-million pound businesses and are an inspiration to us all.”

There can be no doubt that this is a community which has had a huge impact on the UK economy over the past fifty years, and attendance at the gala to honour these Asian entrepreneurs by country leaders, members of the cabinet and other top politicians is indicative of the both their financial and political impact. 2016 is no different – whilst 2015 saw Prime Minister David Cameron courting the great and the good, this year’s event saw London Mayoral candidates Zac Goldsmith MP and Sadiq Khan MP take part in a Q&A session for a chance to impress some of the most influential London voters.

Taking part in separate Q&A sessions at the gala awards ceremony, which was attended by a host of dignitaries and peers including: Neil Coyle MP, Lord Andrew Feldman, Rt Hon Sir Simon Hughes, Dame Asha Khemka, Seema Malhotra MP, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP and Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, the candidates spoke of their commitment to business and the economy and paid tribute to the immense impact that the Asian community has had on the country, and London in particular.

Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith MP said: “I want to pay tribute to the huge contribution Asian businesses and entrepreneurs have made to our country’s economic success.

It’s easy to forget, but when the Conservatives took office in 2010, we inherited the worst recession in 100 years from Labour. Thanks to the difficult decisions we took and the hard work of business owners and entrepreneurs like those here today, we now have one of the strongest economies in the world and record numbers of people in work.

As Mayor, I would stand-up for businesses and continue to work with the government to build on that success and power London forward. In Jeremy Corbyn however, Labour have the most anti-business leader in living memory which is why I believe it would be a disaster for business and our economy if we end up with a Labour Mayor of London in May.”

Sadiq Khan, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London, said: “Asian businesses make a hugely important contribution to our city.  From small businesses to the City, the innovation, skill and resilience of the Asian business community is part of what makes London great. I’m delighted to be attending the awards tonight.”

Winners were as follows:

Healthcare Business Award supported by Bank of Baroda
WINNER: Haroon and Farouq Sheikh, Co-Founders CareTech UK

Restaurant of the Year
WINNER: Jyotin, Karam and Sunaina Sethi – JKS Restaurants

Young Entrepreneur of the Year supported by Lycamobile
WINNER: Rishika Lulla Singh, CEO Eros Digital

Regional Caterer of the Year
WINNER: Sanjay Foods

Venue of the Year
WINNER: Dallas Burston Polo Club

Entrepreneur of the Year supported by Edwardian Group London
WINNER: Mayank Patel OBE

Hotelier of the Year supported by HT & Co (Drinks) Ltd
WINNER: Shiraz Boghani, Chairman, Splendid Hospitality Group

Food & Drink Award supported by Sun Mark Limited
WINNER: Moni Varma, Chairman, Veetee Group International

Next Gen Award
WINNER: Day Lewis Next Generation

Editor’s Special Award
The Hon Angad Paul

Business Personality Award supported by Bristol Laboratories
WINNER: Salim Janmohamed, Chairman, Karali Group

Asian Business of the Year Award 
WINNER: Kuljinder Bahia, CEO, Southall Travel