A commitment to innovation and expansion won Shahid Sheikh the Entrepreneur of the Year award, sponsored by Vantis.
When the Clifton Packaging Group managing, director bought a revolutionary new machine for his Enderby factory, he did not have any customers lined up for the shaped plastic pouches it produced.
However, his faith in innovative technology paid dividends and the product is a hit with some of the top names in the food industry. The machine is still the most sophisticated of its kind in Europe.
Mr Sheikh believed winning the award highlighted Leicestershire’s leading position as not only a multi-cultural county, but a place where different races integrated.
“I’m over the moon,” he said. “This is absolutely massive as it shows not only are we the number one multi-cultural place in the UK, but we are also inter-cultural. People could have sat on the fence and said ‘why has an Asian not won this award’.
“I put myself forward because I knew I had a good story to tell and the judges were obviously impressed. “What I believe gave me the edge was the fact that l was able to demonstrate my wider role in the community, by working with community, sport and charity groups.”
Mr Sheikh was ﬁrst drafted into the family business when he was 15 years old. At 16, he had to drop out of full-time education to help in the factory and manage a team of six people.
The win came days after Mr Sheikh was named the new chairman of the Leicester Round Table charity group.
He is believed to be the ﬁrst Asian to hold the post in the UK.
“It’s been a great few days,” he said.
“An Entrepreneur knows the art of making things possible whilst behind the scenes the management team are educated with the art of making things happen “… Shahid Sheikh OBE