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Who is Britain’s top Asian woman entrepreneur?

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The 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year category at the Asian Women of Achievement awards includes: a fitness entrepreneur; a clinical researcher; the woman introducing a new concept in bars; a tailor; and a media pioneer.

Nahid de Belgeonne When Nahid opened her first Power Plate fitness studio in central London in2007, the fitness industry knitted its brows. She had zero experience in thesector, no client base and the Power Plate was practically unheard of. She wasbound to fail, right? Wrong. The former photographer and stylist has openedfour studios across the capital, has a client base of more than 3,000, employs18 members of staff and has sales of £500,000.

Dr Rabinder ButtarTen years ago, when Dr Rabinder was running clinical research firm ClinTecfrom her house while looking after her two young sons, she never wouldhave guessed it would reach the heady heights of today. The Glasgow-basedbusiness now employs 200 people, provides specialist clinical consultancy topharmaceutical and biotech companies in 30 countries and is set to hit the£10m-turnover mark this year.

Pally PagluciaThis Yellow Pages saleswoman turned entrepreneur opened her first brow barin Selfridges, Birmingham, at the end of the 2006, using every penny of hersavings. In less than a year, the 31-year-old mother from Dudley has openedfour more, with a further seven concessions planned for the next couple ofmonths. Sales at the brow bars, which specialise in threading (designed to giveyou perfectly shaped eyebrows minus the tweezers), have already hit £1m.

Imtaz Khaliq Imtaz graduated with a distinction from the London College of Fashion in1988 and started her first tailoring business at the age of 18 in her home townof Bradford. Of Pakistani parentage, she broke the mould of an Asian womanby forging a successful career and establishing Bespoke Tailor in 1991. Nowconsidered one of the leading lights in tailoring, she is best known for herhandmade, sharply cut, sleek suits for both men and women. Her work haswon the admiration of supermodels, top singers and actresses – includingheavyweight stars such as Michelle Pfeiffer and Dina Carroll.

Hasfa Abubacker After working in home shopping for ten years, Hasfa decided there was scopeto offer the UK consumer a more sophisticated approach to the traditional USstyle informercials. Having the courage of her convictions, she left her job inMarch 2004 and started Pitchwell from her two-bedroom flat in North Londonthe following day. In October 2005, she became the only woman and, aged 31,the youngest person in the UK to own and run a shopping channel. Pitchwellhas since gone on to enter the high-street retail environment – its products arenow sold across 300 stores in the UK and Ireland, showcasing more than 500in-store promotions.

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