Jul 15, 2015 By Diversity, Entrepreneurship, STEM, Technology, Women x Comments

The Queen hosted a reception for winners of The Awards for Enterprise on 14th July 2015. The event at Buckingham Palace marked the 50th Anniversary of the Awards. Also in attendance were The Duke of Edinburgh; The Duke of York, Princess Eugenie of York; The Princess Royal; The Duke of Gloucester; The Duke of Kent; Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy, who met three hundred guests from 139 companies that have been awarded recognition for outstanding achievement in International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development.

The Award for Enterprise Promotion (QAEP) is given to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to promoting and enhancing enterprise among UK entrepreneurs and companies. Among the six recipients of the QAEP 2015 was Lopa Patel MBE, who became the first Asian woman to receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.

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Lopa’s award comes after a considerable career spent dedicated to the promotion of skills and enterprise throughout the UK and has enabled her to build a reputation as an inspirational figure in her field. She has promoted entrepreneurship, mentored new ventures and directed the activities of business networks and support programs.

It is a huge honour to receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion,” said Lopa Patel, “encouraging diversity and entrepreneurship in the world of business is something about which I am extremely passionate. It is my hope that this accolade will provide me with a platform to continue advocating diversity in business, as well as greater innovation of technological skills in industry”.

As the first female Asian recipient of the award, today marks a key moment for the recognition of Asian women as entrepreneurs. Asian women have long had a strong presence in the running and creation of SMEs, but received little wider recognition for their contribution to entrepreneurship in the UK. The award comes after a long career spent as a passionate advocate for diversity and entrepreneurship in business and the creative industries, for which Lopa received an MBE in 2009.

Lopa Patel also founded the equality and diversity think tank, Diversity UK, an organisation of which she currently sits as CEO. She is also a non-Executive Director of EMBG (Ethnic Minority Business Group) and a Trustee of educational charity Raha International. She is a Technology Ambassador for STEMNET, helping to encourage girls to take up science careers, a sector in which just 13% of the workforce are women (‘Women in scientific careers’ Parliamentary Report, 2014).

She is also the first Asian woman to be elected as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and is also a Fellow of the RSA, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Dilip Joshi MBE, Chair of Diversity UK, who nominated Lopa for The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion said, “We at Diversity UK are extremely pleased with Lopa’s recognition. Lopa is an inspiration for the young generation and her role in advocating inclusion and diversity is well appreciated by our team and the wider Diversity UK network.”

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