Karan Bilimoria, i.e. Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, started out as a qualified Chartered Accountant. In 1990, with a dream and £20,000 in debt, he defied all odds and started Cobra Beer, one of the fastest growing beer brands in the United Kingdom. The operation has offices on four continents and exports to over 45 countries with their brewing operations in five. Cobra Beer entered into a joint venture with the largest family-owned brewery in the world, Molson Coors, in 2009.
Widely recognized and respected for his entrepreneurial skills, Karan Bilimoria is but one of two Visiting Entrepreneurs ever to be appointed at Cambridge University. He also serves as the National Champion of the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship and is the current Chancellor of the University of Birmingham.
Karan Bilimoria was a member of the Government’s National Employment Panel (NEP) on which he served as the Chairman of the NEP’s SME Board from 2001 to 2005. He is also the founding Chairman of the UK-India Business Council and is currently the President.
His numerous awards in recognition of his business and charitable achievements include the RSA Albert Medal, a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2004, named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003 which was followed the next year by Business Person of the year from the London Business Awards. Ernst&Young named him London Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003. In 2005, the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales honored him with the Award for Outstanding Achievement, with 2006 seeing him named Man of the Year at the Drink Business Awards. He has been awarded honorary doctorates at Staffordshire University, Brunel University, Cranfield University, and Heriot-Watt University. Karan also received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the promotion of Indo-British relations from the Non-Resident Indian Institute in 2010.
June 2006 saw Karan receive the title of The Lord Bilimoria, of Chelsea.
Karan Bilimoria accompanied Prime Minister David Cameron on his 2013 visit to India as a delegate, a role he also fulfilled on the Prime Minister’s 2011 visit, as well as for the visits of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Lord Karan Bilimoria, besides his business and philanthropic obligations, is also active in Parliament, especially in matters including commerce, entrepreneurship, education, culture, minorities’ contributions, academia, the European Union, diplomacy, and defence. He also frequently speaks in the House, addressing such aspects as the need to reform the UK’s immigration policy. He is an acknowledge Ambassador for Britain, India, and the Parsi Community, with 2013 seeing him establish the Zoroastrian All-Party Parliamentary Group with the intention of providing an official forum for parliamentarians to increase their awareness of the religion.
An expert business speaker, Karan Bilimoria addresses a range of topics relating to business leadership, marketing, and branding.
“A very accomplished speaker and fantastic storyteller who we could have listened to for hours! A great balance of a personal story combined with pertinent business messages of integrity, the entrepreneurial spirit and making a difference.”