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The Entrepreneurial Exchange

Biographies

Robert Wiseman

Robert Wiseman was raised in East Kilbride and studied at Auchencruive Agricultural College in Ayrshire in the mid 70’s.  After completing his studies, Robert returned to the family farm where he gained valuable experience in all aspects of milk production.   He joined the business in 1975 and later took up a strategic role in the Company in 1979 with responsibilities for a new site when the Company entered the Glasgow market. He continued to work closely with Alan Wiseman on the expansion of the business and in 1985 was appointed Managing Director.   In 2002, after restructuring of the Operational Board of Directors, Robert took on the role of Chief Executive. In 2003 Robert won the Ernst & Young UK Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He also received an Honorary Degree in Business Administration from Napier University in July 2004. His company, Robert Wiseman Dairies, now puts more than one in four litres of fresh liquid milk in the nation’s fridges every day. With a strong and diverse customer base, in both the multiple and independent sector, Wiseman now processes and distributes over 1.62 billion litres per annum from a network of dairies and depots across the UK. The company’s newest dairy at Bridgwater in Somerset opened in December 2007. Built using green business principles, it is the most environmentally advanced dairy in the world. Robert and his brother Alan were inducted into The Entrepreneurial Exchange Hall of Fame in 2008.

Dr Charan Gill, MBE

Charan Gill is the face and mastermind behind the hugely successful Glasgow based Harlequin Leisure Group, which incorporated Harlequin Restaurant Group, the largest Indian restaurant chain in the UK.

Often revered as 'Glasgow's Curry King' by the media over the last 19 years, Charan has turned the Glaswegian passion for curry into a thriving empire of 17 restaurants across Scotland...and that's just for starters! In 1998, Charan was awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List for his outstanding contribution to the food and catering industry.

It's fair to say Charan's achievements have been phenomenal.  So what is the secret of his success? Rather than being born with the silver spoon syndrome, on the contrary, Charan's childhood was tough.  He arrived in Glasgow from the Punjab, India in 1963 at the age of 9 with little knowledge of English or indeed the western culture. Denied a university education, he started his career as a turner and fitter at Yarrow's Shipyards on the Clyde in 1969.

By 1974, he was a married man with a young child, living in a room and kitchen on the south side of Glasgow. To supplement his meagre income in the shipyards, Charan worked as a waiter in his friend's restaurant, the Ashoka West End, in the evenings - and this is when his entrepreneurial flair began to flourish. He had a vision.

In 1984 when the opportunity arose to purchase the restaurant, Charan begged and borrowed to secure the deal. Through grim determination (amid at times desperation), he applied his innate ability to turn ideas into innovative concepts - and the Harlequin Empire was born. In March 2005, Charan successfully sold the Harlequin Restaurant Group and is now concentrating on Harlequin Properties and Harlequin Developments, focussing on luxury conversions and new build properties across west central Scotland.

Not content with already having built hugely successful companies and selling them, Charan's latest venture is The Quayside in Musselburgh which he has recently refurbished to his exacting standards which comprises a comprises a Restaurant, Health and Fitness Centre and also specialises in carefully tailored function requirements including Weddings, Conferences and Events. 

 

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Venue information

No 29, Glasgow 29 Royal Exchange Square
Glasgow
G1 3AJ

0141 225 5615

Chairman

Dr Charan Gill, MBE, Harlequin Leisure Investments, www.harlequinestates.com

Speakers

  • Mr Robert Wiseman, Robert Wiseman Dairies, www.wiseman-dairies.co.uk

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Registered in Scotland. Company registration number SC160976.
Registered office: Barncluith Business Centre, Townhead Street, Hamilton, ML3 7DP. Developed by Mercurytide