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Asian family businesses in the spotlight at University of West London

Panel at the Asian Family Business Conference

Asian-owned companies contribute more than £200 billion a year to the UK economy, and employ 300,000 people in London alone. At the university’s Ealing site on Friday (6 October), the Asian Family Business Conference put this vital sector in the spotlight with special guest the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and a host of high-profile speakers including Claude Littner, UWL Visiting Professor and co-star of The Apprentice BBC TV show, and Rami Ranger CBE, distribution tycoon.

Topics on the agenda included conflict management, leadership, governance, gender and intergenerational transition. Among the speakers at the all-day conference were men and women from different generations, all with experience of working in successful family companies. Dr Suresh Gamlath, Dean of Claude Littner Business School, chaired two panels: 'From success to succession: effectively managing intergenerational transition' and 'Relationship conflicts and business performance: managing conflict within family businesses'. Luna Sidhu, director of development and alumni relations, chaired the Leadership, Governance and Gender panel discussion.

Speakers and chairs of the Asian Family Business conference.

Delegates and guests also enjoyed a gala dinner at UWL’s award-winning restaurant Pillars, prepared by world-renowned chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE, who led a team of student chefs and 'front of house' waiting staff from the London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism to prepare the meal. 

Family business commentator Anita Brightley-Hodges (centre) with fellow distinguished speakers at the conference

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP said: ‘It’s great that the Asian family business conference and the University of West London are through this event celebrating the contribution of Asian businesses to our society.

‘Contributing as much as 10 per cent towards the UK economy, Asian businesses continue to be a powerful force in British society. In particular, thanks to the drive and the innovation from Asian family businesses, cities such as Leicester, Manchester and Leeds are thriving. So as we leave the EU, they will play a pivotal role to help us build a more global, more outward-facing Britain.’

TV star Claude Littner opened the first Asian Family Business Conference at a UK university

UWL Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter John, said: ‘This was the first Asian family business conference in a UK university and it was a wonderful and very interesting event. I would like to thank the Secretary of State for being part of the occasion and the many other distinguished guests, including Rami Ranger, for taking part in this landmark event.’

Dr Suresh Gamlath, Dean of UWL’s Claude Littner Business School, said: ‘Asian family businesses are fully invested in Britain’s economy and are committed to the UK’s growth and prosperity. This conference drew on the direct experience of a large group of high net-worth Asian entrepreneurs, to gain insight into significant issues that are unique and critical to the growth of Asian family businesses.’

Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP (centre), Prof Peter John, UWL Vice-Chancellor (right), and Dr Suresh Gamlath

Check out a video from the event below or view more videos from the Conference on UWL's YouTube page.

Find out more about the Claude Littner Business School. Check out the School on Twitter: @UWL_CLBS