Doncaster businessman humbled after receiving top award
He went into business developing a couple of houses in Balby nearly 50 years ago – and now he has been honoured by Doncaster’s business community.
Nadeem Shah went straight into business after passing his A Levels at Doncaster College in 1973, growing it into a major employer. And 46 years on, he has been handed the Lifetime Achievement award in the Doncaster Chamber Doncaster Business Awards.
Mr Shah was born in Pakistan but moved to Britain with his family when he was eight.
Now aged 63, he says he has done business the right way; being financially sound, treating employees the right way and satisfying customers.
Today, his business empire under his Vigo Group, based at South Parade, Doncaster, includes property rental, contruction, and recycling construction materials companies, and is a major employer.
He said: “I got started in 1973 after leaving college. I started with two small terraced houses on Cross Bank in Balby, and paid £400 each for them. I wanted to build new houses and that is what I went on to do.”
Tributes paid to Mr Shah at the Chamber awards at Doncaster Racecourse made reference to his integrity and honesty over his long business career in the borough.
Council head of development Scott Cardwell said Mr Shah was one of the first developers he came across when he first started working for the council, and he had always invested in Doncaster.
Mr Shah said he had not originally planned to attend the business awards night, as he had been on business in London on the previous night. But his son persuaded him to attend, without telling him he was on the winners list.
He said: “I feel really humbled that the people of Doncaster chose me for this award. Doncaster has been my home for 54 years.”
He has also run a charity foundation for the last 12 years, the AHS Foundation, which works in areas that have been affected by natural disasters.
He said: “My charity means more to me than the business. Business is business, but the charity is where the real reward is.”
Mr Shah was one of 13 award winniners on the night, with over 900 people attending the evening, hosted by television comedy conjuror Ben Hanlin.
The biggest winner on the night was the People Focused Group organisation, set up by Doncaster social worker Kelly Hicks, and developed into an organisation which helps people who have suffered mental health problems by bringing them together for a mutal support group, which also helps tackle loneliness.
The People Focused Group won both the award for Third Sector Organisation of the Year Award, and the Success Through Partnerships Award.
Winners and runners-up
>Lifetime Achievement Award
Winner: Nadeem Shah
·Winner: Jane Byers-Woods – VolkerRail
·Runner Up: Katie Livcock - Institution
>Excellence in People Development
·Winner: Unipart Rail
·Runner Up: Polypipe
>Excellence in Corporate, Social and Environmental Responsibility
·Winner: Curly’s Athletes Ltd
·Runner Up: VolkerRail
>Success through Partnerships
·Winner: People Focused Group
·Runner Up: Cast
>Business and Education Partnership
·Winner: Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals
·Runner Up: Pegler
>Marketing Campaign of the Year
·Winner: Doncaster Racecourse
·Runner Up: Club Doncaster
>Success through Innovation
·Winner: Nathaniel Carter & McSkelly Auctioneers Limited (NCM Auctions)
·Runner Up: World Feeds Limited
>Excellence in Customer Service
·Winner: NatWest Business Banking Doncaster
·Runner Up: St Leger Homes of Doncaster
>Third Sector Organisation of the Year
·Winner: People Focused Group
·Runner Up: Active Fusion
>Business Start Up of the Year
·Winner: ORB Recruitment
·Runner Up: Navy Professional Limited
>SME Business of the Year
·Winner: DigitalXRAID Ltd
·Runner Up: Ecoefficiency Ltd
>Large Business of the Year
·Runner Up: VolkerRail
‘Rapid change but still much to do’
In his speech to the awards night, Dan Fell, chief executive of Doncaster Chamber, named 2019 Chamber of the Year earlier this month, paid tribute to work going on to transform Doncaster.
He said: “There are few towns or cities in the UK that have experienced such rapid positive change as Doncaster. Our familiar roll call of transformational projects has continued apace this last year.
“We have seen the expansion of the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, the development of the railway station gateway, the opening of the wool market, the new library and museum rising from the ground, the construction start on a project very dear to my own heart, Donaster University Technology College.
“There really is something special going on here. These capital projects are underpinned by other brilliant initiatives that help to make Doncaster a more attractive place. These include the UCI Cycling World Championships, Doncaster Fashion Week, Doncaster Art Fair, the Festival of Light, Doncaster Pride and so much more. These ventures conspire to make Doncaster a great place to live and play, as well as to do business.”
He said while the awards night was a celebration reflecting on Doncaster’s achievements, there was still work to do.
He added: “Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) is an under-utilised asset, but remains one of the region’s greatest opportunities. Delivering a new railway station terminal at the airport on a spur from the East Coast Mainline would be game-changing for the North and ensure that many more can use DSA to access global opportunities. The chamber and its strategic partners will be lobbying hard for this scheme in 2020.
“Similarly, we need investment in our road network with too many of our key access and egress roads being frustrating bottlenecks.
“The chamber, with support from the authority, will be seeking to work even more closely with Doncaster’s anchor employers, encouraging them to increasingly utilise our SME (small and medium sized enterprises) community in their supply chains. As a borough we need to respond to the climate change emergency and recognise that business can be a significant part of the solution.
“Doncaster needs to play its part its part in achieving a meaningful devolution settlement while continuing to advocate for city status. We need to work with developers to ensure that we have enough available commercial property in the town centre to meet demand from investors. And while perennially championing new events and ventures, we must protect, enhance and champion our core leisure and tourism offerings such as Leger week.”
He added: “We have, collectively, achieved remarkable things, but still have significant work to do. However, for tonight, let’s down tools and celebrate the best of business in Doncaster.”