Britain's top 100 Entrepreneurs 2009: Wealth of Diversity

Our ranking shows strength in variety. From chemists to care homes, baking to paper-making, multicultural entrepreneurs are on the case

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013


CareTech is riding high. Profits at the Potters Bar-based company, which specialises in residential care for adults with learning disabilities, hit £7.65m on sales of £67.7m in 2008. That's up 26% and 21% respectively on 2007's results. Kenyan-born Muslim brothers Farouq and Haroon Sheikh set up CareTech in 1993, to offer high-quality specialist support and care - using an 'ordinary life' model - to people with physical disability, challenging behaviours, mental health problems and autistic-spectrum disorders. After a recent acquisition programme, the company has increased its number of beds to 1,300, located primarily in the south of England and West Midlands. Services are entirely funded by the NHS or local authorities, and 90% of its 2009 revenue is already what the analysts call 'visible', making CareTech a good bet for hard economic times. Its market is highly fragmented, and the bullish Sheikh brothers intend to make the most of the buying opportunities that the next few months will present. They refinanced presciently in April 2008, and have signalled the seriousness of their growth intentions by bringing in a big-gun FD, David Pugh - formerly financial controller for FTSE 250 construction business Carillion. Original backer 3i, the private-equity giant, was replaced as a shareholder by Barclays Equity in 2000, before the Sheikh brothers bought back control of the company in 2004 and floated it on the Aim market in October 2005, valued at £58m.


A good year for Day Lewis, the Surrey-based chemists chain and its boss Kirit Patel, recently awarded an MBE for services to pharmacy. In 2006-07, sales rose from £109.1m to £113.1m, with profits coming in at £1.2m. Adding in the £2.3m pay of the highest-paid director (we assume it is Patel) pushes the profit to £3.5m. Patel has said he is responding to the recession positively, increasing investment in staff training and focusing on organic growth. Official recognition for his hard work came in 2000, when Patel was elected chairman of the National Pharmaceutical Association. Patel, who qualified from Portsmouth University in the early 1970s, bought his first shop in 1975, and the business has grown steadily ever since, to around 160 branches. The firm also has an offshore medical supplies division for the merchant marine, and oil and gas platforms around the world. With his family, Patel owns the £30m Day Lewis chain in its entirety. He serves on the Better Regulation Taskforce.


Anwar Patel, a pharmacist by profession, and his brother Yakub, an accountant, put £2m into helping the £20m transformation of Bolton's Hayward School into a city academy in March 2008. The brothers can afford it, having set up their first chemist's shop in Rochdale in 1980 and subsequently taking over Bolton-based Cohens, from where they built a chain of chemists. In October 2005, the brothers sold 111 of their outlets to Lloyds pharmacy for £130m. They kept 30 branches, mainly in north England. These formed the basis of their later venture, the Georgemead chemistry group, which made £5.3m profit on £743m sales in 2006-07.


Surjit Rai founded Rushcliffe Care Homes in 1989 after buying a single care home. He owns the company in its entirety, and has carved a particular niche in housing patients with acute health needs such as those with head injuries. Loughborough-based Rush-cliffe operates 26 homes across the East Midlands, and in November it agreed a £50m refinancing deal with Lloyds TSB. An Investor in People, Rushcliffe Care has won a number of accolades, including Independent Care Operator of the Year. Rai says the key to Rushcliffe's growth has been its investment in nursing staff and training - the company has its own training centre and has forged links with Leicester's De Montfort University, which recognises Rushcliffe as a leader in its field. In 2007, Rushcliffe Care made a healthy £2.3m profit on £17.7m sales.


LPC Group - the UK's largest independent manufacturer of tissue-based hygiene products - has invested more than £40m in a new plant at Rothley Lodge near Leicester that will produce over 600 million toilet and kitchen rolls a year, creating some 250 new jobs in the process. It uses the latest in manufacturing and converting technology to produce private-label toilet rolls, kitchen towels and facial tissues for its clients, many of them major high street retailers. LPC also operates a paper mill in Sweden and plans to open factories in Germany and Spain as part of a push to double in size over the next four years. Profits at the Leicester-based business, led by Shiraz Dharamshi Tejani, soared from £2.6m to £5.8m in 2007 on sales of over £153.5m. The company has nearly £77m net assets and continues to invest heavily in its state-of-the-art tissue-production facility. 'It makes us very proud as a family that LPC remains one of the most successful Asian businesses in Leicester,' Tejani has said. 'It's great to be part of such a thriving business community. We started LPC 25 years ago and it is amazing to think that when we started we just managed to collect enough for second-hand equipment. Now, we have assets that include two world-class paper mills and the most up-to-date paper-converting machine in the UK.'


Michael's Pitta Bread Bakery, a family business based in Tottenham Hale, north London, is run and owned by Michael and Andriani Tsiattalos. Its profits grew from £2.5m to a record £4.6m on sales of £10.5m in 2006-07. With a solid balance sheet, it should easily be worth £25m.

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