The story of Vijay Patel is a typical rags-to-riches story that inspires others to fight against the bonds of poverty and make something of their lives. Patel and his brother, Bhikhu, have amassed a £500m fortune. They are the 14th richest Asians in Britain. He is the Chief Executive of Waymade, a pharmaceutical conglomerate. He has a beautiful estate in Essex and a fleet of Range Rovers. Aside from that, Patel is not known for ostentatious displays of his wealth and lavish tastes usually displayed and characterized to his fellow “Bollygarchs”.
Patel was born in a Kenyan Village to a timber merchant father who died when he was five and a mother who raised them despite not being particularly educated. His mother ran a nursery and used the money she earned to bring them up. She made her children focus on honesty, integrity and education instead of the depressing claws of deprivation.
After the Kenyan independence in 1964, the family had a hard time looking for income since jobs and education were mostly prioritized for the Kenyans. Luckily, they had British passports and were dispatched to the UK once they turn 16 thanks to the marriage of his older sister in the UK which gave them a crucial base in London.
Patel was a passionate entrepreneur and filled with many dreams of making money by the time he was 18, but his mother strongly advised him to get a degree and choose a profession. He became a pharmacist in the hopes of being able to run a business one day.
He graduated from De Montfort University and joined a tiny practice in Burnham-on-Crouch, in Essex. He preferred it to working at Boots, because he wanted to learn how to run his own business. He went to a bank for financing and after a year of failures, his uncle pitied him and loaned him £6,000. He started a pharmacy in Essex and bought a second shop after three months. He had nine more shops in a span of five years. In the peak of his business, he had 25 shops.
Patel asked help from his brother with his poorly managed expansion. Once he was free from the operational side of his business, he started buying from the pharmaceutical giants and supplying other pharmacies. He sold his shops except for the first two which he kept for sentimental reasons. His pharmacist wife also works in these shops and she has always supported his ambitions.
Patel’s next venture was manufacturing, sales and marketing and international expansion. He founded Amdipharm, a new division of Waymade, and started snapping up international pharmaceutical assets. Amdipharm was sold to Cinven last year to extract cash for him and his family. His new business, Atnahs Pharma is already operating in 10 countries in just six months.
Patel and his brother have brought their children into the business, but he would still like to be hands-on. According to Patel, he’s not doing it for the money, but rather, he likes watching businesses flower.