Welcome to Overseas Maharashtrian Professionals and Entrepreneurs Group


Uday Dholakia

Uday Dholakia has made a consistently valuable contribution to supporting and promoting enterprise to businesses, ethnic minorities and disadvantaged groups over a period of more than 40 years. This began in 1983 with him receiving the Northeast Enterprise Trust Award for voluntary business development activities to support start-up and micro businesses in Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Sunderland.

In 1986, recipient of the UK government scholarship to United States, interned with the legendary African American Congressman Parren Mitchell from Baltimore, the godfather of US minority procurement and set-aside government contacts. Upon his return to the UK, Uday worked closely with Department of Trade and Industry to establish Britain’s first Minority Business Unit and in 1987 he founded the Leicestershire Asian Business Association and in early 2000s the National Asian Business Association, directly inspiring a group of Maharashtrian entrepreneurs in the UK to create OMPEG.

His wide-ranging activities have included supporting the Home Office and other government departments, including DTI, in formulating policies and services to support people from ethnic minorities to start and develop businesses. Include the hosting of several international conferences in USA, Europe and in the UK that resulting in national strategies for minority business support and commissioning Professor Ward of Aston University to produce the definitive report on minority businesses which set the subsequent UK and EU benchmark for national minority business service provision.

Uday instigated the national Ethnic Minority Business Development Strategy for DTI in 1995 and his lobbying led to the establishment, by the Department for Employment, of the Ethnic Minority Committee by Barbara Roche MP, the then Minister for Small Businesses. This included a national Business Link conference on the development of good practice in supporting ethnic minority businesses, resulting policy report was launched at the House of Commons with cross party support.

He was a founder member of the European Ethnic Minority Business Network (DG23) in 1999. Here he worked with Commissioner Liikanen’s office to develop a policy framework for European minority businesses within the EU Green Paper on Small Businesses. He also chaired the Steering Committee for the first European Small Business Conference on Ethnic Entrepreneurship held in Brussels in 2003.

Uday has also taken on the role of a regional champion helping local businesses to forge trade links with the USA, Portugal and Bulgaria. He was made an honorary citizen of Haskovo in Bulgaria in 2005. In 1993 he encouraged the formation of the Indo-British Trade Council, which today promotes meaningful and practical, trade, academic, research and civic links with India and the Midlands. With long standing links to the Punjab Chamber, Maratha Chamber of Commerce in Pune and the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ahmedabad.

Uday is highly regarded in the Asian Community as the ‘conscience’ of small businesses. He is passionate about all small businesses but has devoted four decades to helping shape policies and services to meet the needs of minorities and those from disadvantaged communities. As Commissioner at Broadcasting Standards Commission, Uday paved the way to encouraging enterprise amongst creative industry. The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council of USA invited Uday on its board, first non-American to have this honour.