Lancashire trio win entrepreneurial awards

Three Lancashire business owners have been named the best in the north, in recognition of their business success, leadership qualities and social impact.

Imran Hakim, chief executive of Hakim Group, Steven Jackson of Recycling Lives and Jonathan Lill of BBF each collected individual accolades at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 North awards which is backed by the Financial Times.

Imran, who runs the Darwen-based opticians business Hakim Group, took home the Scale-up award for growth as well as the evening's overall Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He was described by the judges as having an 'unstoppable work ethic'.

Founded in 2006, the business represents a rapidly growing portfolio of over 100 independent optician practices across the UK.

Victoria Price, partner and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year leader in the North, said: “Imran is a very worthy winner – he has developed and executed a successful buy and build strategy with a proven track record of generating growth post acquisition.  Imran has built a support team that has been with the business since the start and coupled with his visionary leadership it is not difficult to see why his business has thrived.”

Steven Jackson of Preston-based was recognised for the social impact of Recycling Lives, which spans a nationwide recycling and waste management businesses, a social enterprise delivering food redistribution, offender rehabilitation programmes and a charity managing a homeless residential programme.

Imran has developed and executed a successful buy and build strategy with a proven track record of generating growth.

Jonathan Lill was recognised with the Transformational Leader award for his work at Blackburn-based cake and chilled dessert manufacturer BBF, which secured £40m growth funding earlier this year.

Each winner was judged and selected from 24 Northern businesses across the North West, Yorkshire and the North East. All of the North of England winners will go on to represent the region at the UK finals in November 2019, where the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK will be crowned. The UK country winner will then attend the ‘EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year’ in Summer 2020, which gathers the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs from more than 60 countries.

Last year’s North winners, Mohsin and Zuber Issa of Blackburn-based forecourt retail operator EG Group, went on to become overall winners at the national Entrepreneur Of The Year awards and represented the UK at the global awards earlier in June.