Winners of the Asian Achievers Awards in 2019

  • Achievement in Community Service

    Onkardeep Singh MBE is one of the founding members of City Sikhs Network, UK’s largest network of Sikh professionals. Since young age, Onkar has been involved in several voluntary projects because of which, in 2018, he became one of the youngest people of South Asian origin to receive an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) from the Queen, for his services to the community. He is also a founding member of the British Sikh Report which is the most robust annual report on the British Sikh community in the UK.
    The young activist is now in the process of setting up ‘Society and Me’, a nonprofit body aimed at inspiring social action, interfaith dialogue and conflict resolution. Professionally, he is a user experience designer and holds wider interests in sports, photography, technology and space.

  • Achievement in Media, Arts and Culture

    Faisal Islam is an award-winning broadcaster and journalist, he is currently the BBC's Economics Editor and was previously Political Editor at Sky News. Earlier, Faisal was the Economics Correspondent for Channel 4 News and The Observer newspaper. Faisal reports on pressing issues within the corporate world from government-subsidised arms dealers, and the future of the economy after Brexit, to how bankers are trading weather.
    Even as Faisal faces racial discrimination on a daily basis, he has a handful of awards under his belt and is lauded by peers and industry. In 2006 he was named Young Journalist of the Year at the Royal Society of Television awards. Faisal won the WorkWorld Foundations ‘Broadcast News Reporter of the Year’ in 2010. His coverage of the Icelandic banking crisis in 2009 garnered him further awards and praise. Islam was nominated for the Services to Media award at the British Muslim Awards in 2015. He won the Royal Television Society award in 2017, for his interview with Prime Minister David Cameron.

  • Sports Personality of the Year

    Harjit Singh Bhania OBE aka Haj Bhania - a well-respected figure across Paralympic and Grassroots sport - has dedicated over 20 years of his service to wheelchair basketball as both a volunteer coach and as a coach within the GB Performance Programme. Haj has consistently brought medal glory home to Great Britain – including Paralympic, European and World Championship podium positions.
    His unique approach to coaching has drawn worldwide attention to the new generation of players being nurtured under his direction. He attends the BWB club conference every year and is committed to travelling around the UK delivering open sessions to participants at Regional Performance Centres in order to further develop coaches within the sport. This year, Haj has received an OBE for his services to the sport.

  • Uniformed, Civil and Public Services

    Hafsa Qureshi is a bisexual Muslim and LGBTQ+ activist and is the Stonewall Bi Role Model of the Year 2019 for sharing her experiences as a BAME, LGBTQ+ Muslim Woman. Hafsa works for the Ministry of Justice and is very active in the LGBTQ+ network and cross Civil Service trans network.
    As a hijab-wearing Muslim, she has spoken out about issues relating to the South Asian queer community. She uses her platform within the MoJ to advocate her work.
    Hafsa was featured in a department-wide campaign promoting its values and how she exemplifies the value of ‘humanity’. Following this, she shared the stage alongside senior leaders to speak about diversity and inclusion and her experiences as a BAME, LGBTQ+ Muslim woman as well as someone who has a disability.

  • Professional of the Year

    Krishna Omkar is a corporate lawyer in the London office of King & Spalding and LGBTQ+ activist who was born and raised in India. He has wide practice of acting for public and private companies and regularly advises on corporate governance issues, and counsels in shareholder activism.
    Since 2016, Krishna worked on the successful initiative to decriminalise same-sex relations in India. He co-authored a brief to counsel that was submitted to the Indian Supreme Court and relied upon in its recent historic judgment.
    Krishna has led on pro-bono work for several respected LGBTQ+ organisations and organised fundraising initiatives for LGBTQ+ charities. He has played an instrumental part in LGBTQ+ network group, PRISM, since its inception. Krishna has been named a Future Leader by the Financial Times in its Executive Diversity Report between 2015 and 2018, and was a speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2019.

  • Woman of the Year

    Neeta Patel is the CEO of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, home of NEF Fast Track, of which she was the founding CEO. Neeta’s career spans over 30 years of innovation, strategy and operational leadership experience across financial services, media & publishing, education, arts and the creative industries. She is an entrepreneur and mentor-in-residence at London Business School and a board adviser to a number of technology start-up companies.
    Neeta has been appointed as the Non-Executive Director at the Allianz Technology Trust. She was also listed as Computer Weekly’s ‘50 most influential women in UK technology’ in 2018; was also listed in the ‘Hall of Fame’ by Diversity UK as one of the ‘Top 100 Asian leaders in Tech’ in 2019 and named as one of the top ‘100 BAME Leaders in UK Business’ by The Financial Times and Inclusive Board in 2019.

  • Entrepreneur of the Year

    Kush Kanodia is a disabled BAME champion, a social entrepreneur and systems leader. He has developed a portfolio career helping several organisations from charities to non-profit organisations. Kush co-founded Choice International, an NGO that addresses discrimination and inequality worldwide. He also co-founded HeartsMap, a start-up that focuses on empowering and connecting local communities and SMEs. In 2016, he partnered with the Indian High Commission for the inauguration of the World Yoga Festival. Kush is currently the Director of Kaleidoscope Investments, which helps disabled entrepreneurs.
    In 2018, Kush was recognised in the top 10 most influential BAME leaders in technology at Parliament and was featured in the Financial Times. Previously, Kush was a Torch Bearer for the Paralympic Games in London in 2012 and Government role model.

  • Business Person of the Year

    Vipul Vadera joined his family-run fragrance business, Per-Scent as Managing Director in 1998 and successfully catapulted Per-Scent’s revenue growth into fragrance distribution. It owes its rapid development to successful partnerships with a variety of major mainstream retailers. Today Per-Scent has a financial turnover circa £100 million, supplying fragrances, skincare, and cosmetics to over 5,000 retail doors.
    Vipul is also the CEO of The Fragrance shop, an authorised distributor of some of the world's most desirable and globally recognised perfumes. With 222 successful stores across the UK, they also have a very strong online presence.
    Since 2012, the Vadera brothers have been in partnership with Rays of Sunshine, donating 5p from every transaction to the charity that grants magical wishes to terminally ill children every day. To date, they have raised over £1,000,000.

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