Business and Finance
DVK Group Founder, Deepak Kuntawala, Awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Year at Asian Who’s Who Awards 2012
Mr. Deepak Kuntawala, the visionary Founder of DVK Group,a globalcommodity trading and finance boutique company, was honoured with the Asian Leadership Young Entrepreneur accoladeat the esteemed Asian Who’s Who Awards 2012, which took place this week at The Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane London.
Now in its Silver Jubilee 25th year, the high profile event pays homage to the most influential Asians internationally, who have made a phenomenal contribution to their respective fields and continue to set a shining example to their peers among the global Asian fraternity and beyond. The prestigious Asian Who’s Who Awards were presented to coincide with the launch of the annual publication of the Asian Who’s Who International, featuring the world’s most inspiring and respected Asian personalities across a host of fields and professions. With the first edition published in 1975, the now annual directory features the biggest and brightest Asian talents and charts the ascent of the community as it continues to provide shining role models to new generations of Asians who are proving themselves to be assets to their country of residence.
The award winners were selected by an independent panel of eminent advisors, including previous award winners such as Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer Lord Karan Bilimoria; Lord Raj Loomba CBE; and Mr G.S. Gujral CBE.
Deepak Kuntawala was recognised for his gifted sense of entrepreneurship and for creating a dynamic, high growth boutique finance and commodity trading organisation. The DVK Group, which has developed a strong and stable footprint in strategic geographic and international regions and within key emerging markets, is set to cement its global expansion plans further by opening its new headquarter office in the iconic landmark of The Gherkin in London.
In speaking about his award, Deepak set the scene by referencing Mahatama Gandhi’s iconic quote, which sums up the life cycle of an entrepreneur: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
He added: “I am delighted and honoured to be recognised with this award for my achievements, by the community that has been so inspirational to me. It’s been a journey and I have loved every minute of overcoming the constant challenges throughout. I am very excited about the future and see this award as being the start of a thrilling adventure ahead – more learning, developing, achieving, enjoying…
“The Taj Mahal was conceptually designed by one architect, but it took thousands of people to build it, and so this award is similar, as it belongs to all our stakeholders, investors, team, my family and all that influenced me throughout my life to arrive at this point.
“The Asian Who’s Who Awards is a shining beacon of recognition for the enterprising, innovative and successful Asian community across the world.
“The Asian community in the UK and internationally has been noted for its strong value system, hard work ethos, dedication to perfection and charitable spirit. I am immensely proud to be a part of this wonderful community.”
Deepak was presented with his award in the presence of a host of Lords, MPs, dignitaries, industry leaders, celebrities and VIPs, and was handed the accolade by his mentor and role model Lord Bilimoria, the Founder and CEO of Cobra Beer. Deepak spoke of how thrilled he was to receive the award from Lord Bilimoria, as both had attended the Cranfield Business Growth Program, and that it was Lord Bilimoria who had inspired Deepak to join the program.
“When asked what I wanted DVK to aspire to, I always referred to Cobra Beer and Lord Bilimoria as a great benchmark. I never imagined that five and a half years later, I would be presented an award by such a person who I have great admiration for.” Deepak also highly commended Mr JS Sachar, the Founder of the Asian Who’s Who Awards.
Since 2001, Deepak has overseen substantial increases across private equity, wealth management, structured trade and commodity finance, trading, capital markets, infrastructure, real estate, mining, aviation investment and fund management sectors. He comes from a strong entrepreneurial background with business skills inherited from his family, including his grandfather, father and uncles. His family has international trading and real estate business interests going back more than 110 years.
Deepak was born in Zambia in Africa and spent time in South Africa, Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa. After immigrating to the UK with his family in the 1970s from Zambia, he studied Business at world-renowned institutions the London Business School, the Said Business School in Oxford studying Private Equity, Mergers & Acquisitions, and has attended the Growth Program at Cranfield, where such business stalwarts as Angus Thirlwell, the Founder of leading brand Hotel Chocolat, studied.
Embarking on a successful financial career, Deepak held posts at such prestigious institutions as Legal and General, Lombard Business Finance, Credit Suisse, First Boston and UBS. But deciding that he’d like to develop and enhance his natural entrepreneurial flair, Deepak left his banking career and joined the family business of Kaysons Trading. After gaining a sound grounding in business trading and practices from his experienced family, he left the family business in 2001 to set up a small warehouse room in Croydon.
Deepak’s amazing ascent from aspiring entrepreneur to a visionary business mogul has been quite remarkable. Starting off with just £700 on his credit card, Deepak used the money to buy his ticket to Hong Kong to attend the commodities fair. He describes this time as a ‘dream come true’. A thrifty businessman from an early age, Deepak existed on just £400 whilst in Hong Kong. He says: “Morning to night, I walked the commodity fair from 8am to 1am in the morning. I tried searching for a product to market within the giftware industry. I walked perhaps, 12-13 miles a day through each hall, each lane of the trade shows.
“On the last day, I finally found a photo frame on the last isle at 12.40am! It was a curved glass photo frame, which I purchased as a sample and presented it to Colorama Photographic (then the leading photographic retailer in London).” Deepak credits Colorama for giving him his first break in giftware trading. “I purchased the frame for 12 USD cents and marked it up for wholesale for 1.45 pence – that’s how I kick-started my giftware business”, he explains.
Under his able leadership, he has taken the DVK Group to new heights by enhancing its portfolio of business interests. The Group now has a presence in the following countries and cities, Johannesburg, China, Hong Kong, UAE, Switzerland, Moscow, Nairobi, Ghana, Malawi, Madrid, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. DVK plans to expand and adopt a global thinking ethos, to lead by innovation and to provide creative finance solutions to corporate clients.