Monday, September 26, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: Sassoon


This genius with Greek-heritage revolutionized women’s hairstyles in the post-war years. Mr. Sassoon’s salon on Bond Street in London became a hive of beautiful people, as did the ones he opened on Madison Avenue in New York in 1965 and, afterward, in Beverly Hills. Eventually he operated more than 20. He became a business pioneer creating a line of hair products under his name, building it into international hair-products empire.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: Toni&Guy


Toni&Guy, multi-award winning hairdressing and education business, was founded in 1963 by brothers Giuseppe (Tony) and Gaetano (Guy) Mascolo. Their first salon was opened in 1963 in London.  Today, Toni & Guy has more than 6,000 employees in more than 400 salons. It has won over 50 British Hairdressing Awards including Best British Artistic Team a record (11 times), British Hairdresser of the Year three times and Newcomer of the Year seven times. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: Caffè Nero

Caffè Nero

This European style coffee house brand, ranked UK’s third-largest coffee chain, was founded in 1997 by Gerry Ford, an American businessman. In March 2001, the company joined joined the London Stock Exchange under the symbol CFN. After a highly successful period on the London Stock Exchange, in early 2007, Caffè Nero was taken private in order to give it more flexibility to grow the business. Today, the company runs more than 700 coffee houses worldwide and is established in seven countries: the UK, Ireland, Poland, Cyprus, Turkey, the UAE and the United States.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: Cobra Beer

Cobra Beer

Cobra Beer has been founded by an Indian entrepreneur, immigrant to Britain, Karan Faridoon Bilimoria. He launched Cobra Beer when he realised that Britain deserved a better, smoother, less gassy lager. Not just smoother, but one which complemented food, and could appeal to both ale and lager drinkers alike.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo is an iconic British luxury accessories brand defined by an empowered sense of glamour. It was founded in 1996 by a Malaysian fashion designer Jimmy Choo.
After learning from his father about the craft of shoemaking, Choo made his way to England in the early 1980s. Choosing to remain in England, Choo opened his first shop in Hackney in 1986 in an old hospital building. It didn’t take long for Choo’s reputation to build. Within two years of opening his shop, Choo’s shoes were featured in an eight-page spread in Vogue magazine. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: New Look

New Look

New Look is a South African-owned British global fashion retailer with a chain of high street shops. It was founded by Tom Singh in Wellington, Somerset in 1969. Since then the company has rapidly expanded and now operates across a chain of over 1,000 stores internationally, including Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, Romania, Malta, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, China, Germany, Russia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and Poland, and a staff of over 30,000.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: WPP plc

WPP plc

WPP plc, a British multinational advertising and public relations company, owes its international success to Martin Sorrell. Martin Stuart Sorrell was born in London to a Jewish family with an electronics retailer father, whose ancestors came from Russia, Poland and Romania. Sorell took over shopping basket manufacturer WPP in 1985 and turned it into an advertising monolith. In 2015, Martin Sorrell ranked No. 5 in the Harvard Business Review’s 100 Best-Performing CEOs in the World. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: N. M. Rothschild and Sons

N. M. Rothschild and Sons

N. M. Rothschild and Sons, a British multinational investment banking company, has been founded by a Jewish German banker, businessman and financier Nathan Mayer  Rothschild. Once the wealthiest man on earth, Nathan was one of five sons of the second generation of the Rothschild banking dynasty.

Rothschild is consistently in the top 10 global investment banks for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisory. The firm competes against a wide range of investment banks such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: Reuters

Reuters Group Plc

Reuters Group Plc, a worldwide provider of news and financial data, was started in 1851 by German immigrant Paul Julius Reuter at London’s Royal Exchange building. Drawing on his experience of running a news and stock price information service at Aachen, he established a reputation for speed, accuracy, integrity and impartiality by combining technologies of telegraph cables and a fleet of carrier pigeons. 

The Reuters News Agency today employs about 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in some 200 locations worldwide. Reuters Group was acquired by Canada’s Thomson Corp. in 2008 for $17.2 billion.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants:

I first met Brent Hoberman when he and Martha Lane Fox started with six people in a Farringdon office in 1998. Brent and Martha were among the first Internet entrepreneurs on my TV show on Bloomberg TV in 1999. Their business model echoed with me right away, since it was all about!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Most Successful Companies Founded by Immigrants: EasyJet


EasyJet was launched by Greek Cypricot Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou with two Boeing 737-200 aircrafts, initially operating two routes: London Luton to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

It has seen a rapid growth since its establishment in 1995, fuelled by a high demand for low-cost air travel. In 2015, EasyJet operated on 735 routes and carried more than 70 million passengers, making it the second-largest short-haul airline in Europe by number of passengers carried, behind Ryanair. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: ebookers


One of the most successful online U.K. travel agencies was founded by Dinesh Dhamija, a British-Indian business entrepreneur of Punjabi roots.

ebookers was established in 1998 but its origins go back more than 20 years earlier when its predecessor company Flightbookers was started by Dinesh in London’s Earls Court area.

Realising the potential of the Internet, Dinesh developed ebookers as an interactive branch of Flightbookers. Within a few years, the firm established itself as one of Europe’s leading online travel agencies. In 2005, Dinesh sold ebookers for £209m. Via subsequent acquisitions, ebookers became part of online travel company Expedia Inc. in 2015.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Most Successful Companies Founded by Immigrants: Tesco


Tesco, a third largest British multinational retailer in the world, also has its origins back in Poland. Jack Cohen, who founded Tesco in 1919, was the son of Jewish immigrant from Lodz. 

Jack Cohen made his first career step at a market stall holder in Hackney, London, which quickly expanded into a larger market trading business. In 1924, he created the Tesco brand name from the initials of a tea supplier, T.E. Stockwell, and the first two letters of his surname. By 1939, Cohen was an owner of a hundred Tesco stores. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer 

Marks & Spencer, the UK’s fifth-largest retailer, was founded by Michael Marks, who immigrated into England around 1882. He was a young Polish Jew, who was struggling to make the ends meet, didn’t speak English, and had no trade experience. 

Marks was a businessman at heart, and his entrepreneurial journey started when he used his savings to invest in a permanent market stall in Leeds’ open market, which quickly grew into a successful small business. Subsequently, Marks expanded into neighbouring markets, differentiating himself from others by displaying the product prices clearly. 

In the pursuit of business expansion, Marks met Tom Spencer along the way, who became his partner. Marks & Spencer became a limited company in 1903. While Spencer soon retired, Marks continued to grow the company until his death in 1907. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: Skype

Skype Technologies

Skype, a global peer-to-peer Internet communications service, was founded by Janus Friis from Denmark and Niklas Zennström from Sweden. The Skype software was created by Estonians Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, and Jaan Tallinn. Although Skype was registered in Luxemburg, its success lies much with the founders Niklas and Janus moving to London in 2003 and setting up Skype’s business operations in the U.K. while software development continued in Estonia.  As of 2010, Skype was available in 27 languages and has 660 million worldwide users, an average of over 100 million active each month. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants: Selfridges


Selfridges was founded by an American immigrant, Harry Gordon Selfridge, with the express intention of changing the standards of retailing in the UK.

After a series of jobs in places such as a bank in Jackson, Michigan and Marshall Field’s in Chicago, Selfridge moved to London and invested £400,000 in his own department store in what was then the unfashionable western end of Oxford Street. The new store opened to the public on 15 March 1909 and Selfridge remained chairman until he retired in 1941.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Most Successful British Companies Founded by Immigrants Series

The Brexit debate and referendum results obfuscated many real issues.

Was this a clash of political egos gone awry, a manifestation of the disconnect between the political elite and the electorate, a consequence of Islamophobia, a spasmic reaction by some Britons not yet reconciled with an Empire that’s no more, a genuine disillusionment with the EU project, or the unfortunate outcome a campaign rife with misinformation and lies?

Perhaps it’s all of the above in various doses.

What is certain, however, is that in the midst scapegoating, the contribution of immigrants is often being overlooked and sidelined.

Over the course of the next few days, I’ll highlight successful British business set up by first and second generation immigrants to the UK.

This is more than just food for thought. It’s a reminder of the constant injection of new blood into the UK polity that keeps it vibrant, innovative, dynamic and prosperous. 

You might be surprised by what you glean here.