By Andrew Irumba
Business mogul, Dr.Sudhir Ruparelia has once again proven to the entire world that indeed he is still a business kingpin and force to reckon with in the region. This is after the tycoon scooped the 2018 East Africa Business leadership award at a joyful event held at Kabira Country Club, a leafy Kampala area on Friday evening.
The award is organized by East Africa Book of Records which was launched in 2013 by a council of the five East African presidents with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni as the inaugural recipient of the Award.
Others who have so far received the prestigious award include President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The tycoon revealed that when he started out, his dream was to just have a good home and private education for his children, adding that you can build a big business brick by brick.
“Have a strong foundation. You build on the foundation. No need to aim too high where you can’t reach but aim at where you can reach and then aim for the next level, then next level and eventually the sky is the limit,” he told guests.
He also applauded and dedicated the prestigious award to president Museveni for putting up enabling environment to invest in the country.
“I dedicate this award to His Excellency the President of Uganda and his NRM government for creating an enabling environment and formulating liberal economic policies to encourage entrepreneurs like myself to invest in Uganda and to make the private sector thrive in this country. Without that, let me assure you that with all your business acumen, planning, hard work and dedication you will still struggle to achieve success,” he said.
Dr.Paul Bamutaze,the president of the EA Book Of Records, while giving his address said him and his colleagues started the project to enable Africa write its own history other than relying on the world’s Guinness Book of Records which has less focus on Africa.
“The East Africa Book Of Records was started to focus on Africa’s history, our history is told by other people from another planet, so when shall they recognize that people like Sudhir deserve to be recognized to inspire other Africans? If they can’t do that,we shall do it ourselves, because it’s our history,” said Bamutaze.
Veteran politician and businessman Capt. George Mike Mukula (Akiiki) referred to Dr. Sudhir as not only one of the best business minds on the African continent but the whole world.
“Dr.Sudhir has been able to build institutions from a humble beginning and has seen these institutions grow to a level of perfection. He is extremely very meticulous and very thorough, he is a very honest man,” Mukula said.
Mukula also recognised the spill over effect of Dr Sudhir’s business acumen that has led to the success of several other businesses.
“Without Dr. Sudhir, not many businesses would be standing in this country. There are many other entrepreneurs who are now millionaires because of his financial ingenuity,” he said.
“He has been able to build this economy right from the inception of the NRM government in 1986,” Mukula added.
Mukula prayed to God to bless Sudhir more and more for his existence has played a significant role in other people’s lives. “I know that part of the reasons why his Crane Bank got problems is because many local business communities got loans and those loans became bad loans, this is because of his magnanimity…..trying to help everyone come up, but some have since betrayed him. However many of us are still him, we shall support him through all the way….,”he said.
Dr. Bamutaze revealed that they will be organising the ‘Annual Dr Sudhir Ruparelia Business Lecture’ so the business magnet can share his knowledge with young people across the African continent. The first lecture will be held at the University of Nairobi in 2019.
“Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia has shown that if you are focused, no barrier can inhibit your success. Young people look up to him and we are glad to tap into his knowledge,” he said.
The business magnate is also passionate about mentoring the next generation of business leaders.
In his acceptance speech Dr.Sudhir said; “It is my wish and desire that this award will be an inspiration to the young Turks such as Rajiv (Ruparelia) and his contemporaries to continue on this path and eventually someone will recognize your contributions in developing this wonderful country,”. Read his full speech bellow…
“Speech by Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia At East Africa Business Leadership Award
Distinguished Guests, family and dear friends – Good Evening to you all. I want start by conveying to each one of you individually, my most sincere thanks for being here this evening for witnessing the presentation of this award to me.
I am deeply touched by the presence of all of you as you have turned up in such large numbers.
I am extremely humbled and totally astonished to have been selected by the East Africa Book of Records as the East African Business leader for 2018 – I sincerely thank the Committee for presenting me and my family with this pleasant surprise –thank you.
When I was informed, completely out of the blue, that I have been selected for this Award, it got me thinking and reflecting upon what I have done to deserve this very prestigious accolade – and I suppose I should take at least some of the credit for this achievement but more importantly it made me realize that there are many other players without whose support and contribution over the years, I would not be where I am today.
So I want to dedicate this award first and foremost to His Excellency The President of Uganda and his NRM Government for creating an enabling environment and formulating liberal economic policies to encourage entrepreneurs like myself to invest in Uganda and to make the private sector thrive in this country – Without that, let me assure you that with all your business acumen, planning, hard work and dedication you would still struggle to achieve success.
Secondly, I want to dedicate this award to all my business associates, friends and advisors – and believe it or not the list is immensely long for me to name them all, suffice it to say that without their support, contribution, guidance and encouragement this achievement would not be feasible -Thank you all.
Last but not least, I wish to dedicate this award to my lovely wife Jyotsna and my children —Meera, Sheena and Rajiv and my family in general who have not only been my inspiration but also for their trust and their unwavering commitment by enduring, hard work and often tense moods and for being on my side through all the trials and tribulations which are but inevitable on this arduous journey. I am sure that all of you are aware that the journey towards achieving your goals and ambition is not an easy drive on a tarmac road but it has twists and turns, pot holes and many other obstacles and challenges and it is the perseverance, dedication and belief in yourself that gives you the motivation to overcome these challenges.
So finally it is my wish and desire that this award will be an inspiration to the YOUNG Turks such as Rajiv and his contemporaries to continue on this path and eventually someone will recognize your contributions in developing this wonderful country.
FOR GOD and MY Country”