It is said, November is the month to remind us to be thankful for the many positive things happening in our life, but for the Ruparelias, November 2018, was a month for yet more milestones to be thankful for.
First, Speke Resort Munyonyo and the Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo won the coveted 2018 World Luxury Hotel Awards, the former scooping the Country Category for Uganda and the former, won the Regional prize, but also Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the hotel chain’s founder was recognized by the East Africa Book of Records with the East African Business Leader Award of 2018.
What a wonderful gift-pack for business partners and couple; Sudhir and Jyostna who this November also clocked 42 years in Marriage.
According to a statement by East Africa Book of Records, Dr. Sudhir was recognized for his “story of entrepreneurship” that has become a “great inspiration in hard work and focus.”
“His experience in business leadership has inspired many people in the East African region and beyond,” reads the statement.
The East Africa Book of Records was launched in 2013 by a council of the five East Africa presidents with President Yoweri Museveni as the inaugural recipient of the Leadership Award. Other previous recipients include President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“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,” said, Dr. Paul Bamutaze the President of EA Book of Records, adding that his organisation will henceforth organize the Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia Business Lecture for the business magnet to share his knowledge with young people across the African continent.
The first such lecture will be held at the University of Nairobi in 2019.
Set a strong foundation
In his acceptance speech, Sudhir talked about the importance of setting targets, built on a strong foundation.
“Have a strong foundation. You build on the foundation. No need to aim too high where you can’t reach. Aim where you can reach and then aim for the next level, then next level and eventually the sky is the limit,” he told guests at Kabira Country Club, on Friday 06th November, 2018, at a cocktail to celebrate this milestone.
He also thanked the government for liberalizing the economy, a move that he said, has attracted a lot of investors, like himself to Uganda.
“I dedicate this award to His Excellency The President of Uganda and the 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.
The cocktail was attended by among others, business luminaries such as Dr & Mrs. Martin Aliker, Patrick Bitature and Capt. Mike Mukula.
Mukula recognised the role played by the Ruparelia Group, a conglomerate, that has touched the entire economy.
“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.
Mrs. Camille Aliker, wife to eminent elder Dr. Martin Aliker, particularly thanked Sudhir for his philanthropy saying: “He has given so much to charity and on many occasions, he gives and says, don’t mention my name.”
Sudhir who was previously recognised as a Forbes Africa, billionaire, also dedicated his award to his business associates and his family including his children Meera, Sheena, Rajiv and Jyotsna his wife of 42 years, whom he said “have not only been my inspiration but also for their trust and their unwavering commitment by enduring my hard work and often tense moods and by being on my side through all the trials and tribulations which are but inevitable on this arduous journey.”
About Sudhir Ruparelia
Born 17 January 1956 Kabatoro, Kasese District in the Western Region of Uganda into lineage of Indian business, a young Sudhir attended Bat Valley Primary School in Kampala, from P1 to P6, then Jinja Main Street Primary School in Jinja for P7 and Jinja Secondary School.
In 1971, he joined Kololo Senior Secondary School before relocating to the UK in 1972, along with most of his family following the infamous expulsion of Indians by Idi Amin. In the UK, the then 16-year-old Sudhir worked odd jobs in factories, supermarkets and butcheries while studying until he completed his A’ level education.
Following several jobs in the UK, he returned to Uganda in 1985 where he has since invested in different sectors such as insurance, education, floriculture, hotels, real estate and media.
On October 25th, 2007, Dr. Ruparelia received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the Uganda Pentecostal University.