Flying the flag for Oldham in the Asian Business Leaders Awards

Sadaf Anwar and Dr Zubair Ahmad (Founder, Director, Arlington Medical Academy)

A WEB design business that began in a garage and now completes contracts for the likes of TESCO, plus a unique agency that trains foreign medics plugging life-threatening gaps in NHS staffing levels, are flying the flag for Oldham in the Asian Business Leaders Awards 2020.

The Arlington British Medical Academy attracts students from places such as Egypt, Iraq, India and Namibia. Aside from spending up to four weeks in the borough and bolstering the local economy, the majority then plump for a career in British healthcare ensuring that a dearth of home-born GPs doesn’t diminish public healthcare.

Recent figures showed that the number of family doctors in Britain has shrunk for the first time since the 1960’s. Work pressure, lack of time with patients and attractive packages in countries like Canada, means the number of staff is haemorrhaging at an alarming rate.

Thankfully, Dr Zubair Ahmad and team now have a Union Street training facility that boasts a studio for podcasts, lecture theatres for live talks and webinars, online mock tests and private rooms for one-to-ones.

Their most recent innovation is the setting-up of an online function for students to qualify as doctors – and Dr Ahmad believes it is the NHS’ good name that is drawing students from all over the world.

He said: “I thought of the idea when I visited Dubai and saw that medical students there were not being stretched in their learning. They were often sponsored by drugs companies too, which meant that they weren’t impartial.

“There is such a demand to come here because the UK has a very high standard of education and the fact that our healthcare is free-at-the-point of contact, is attractive.”

Karachi based Sadaf Sarwar is just one example of what Dr Ahmad means.

She said: “The NHS is well thought of for giving us great experience. The course gives you skills to work all over the world but my ambition is to be a doctor in the UK.”

Eiei Bhyo Myind (30) from Burma agrees. “Healthcare here is very different from home” said the student, who yearns to be a GP in Scotland, “it is very caring. In my country, the patient only receives good healthcare if they have money.”

The Asian Business Leaders Awards are presented in nine categories and zesty young graphic design company dsgnuk’s stellar progress sees them placed in two berths.

Begun in a garage in Werneth, the Featherstall Road outfit meets the online and print needs of business large and small, with impressive clients such as Cisco and the NHS on their resume.

This year’s judges are looking for businesses who think outside of the box and also give something back to their local community.

dsgnuk Co-Founder and Business Development Manager Ansar Ali said: “I was the only Asian person in my art class at college and am self-taught when it comes to business with a philosophy of ‘trial, fail, learn’.

“I believe that whether you are dealing with a one man band or an international company, that you maximise your potential to the fullest. By reaching the finals of these awards I am hoping to inspire and motivate the next generation of up and coming Asian entrepreneurs.”

Ansar is also using his considerable talents to reach out to the community and is launching an impressive podcast in April on male mental health called, “Men Who Talk.”

Muzahid Khan, one of the organisers of the Asian Business Leaders Awards said: “Oldham has one of the oldest and most active BAME communities in Britain and its influence is becoming apparent in politics, culture and of course, business.

“The creativity and commitment to customer care is of particular note and explains why 10% of our national wealth is created by Asian business.”

Discover more about the Asian Business Leaders Awards by visiting

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