AS one of three enterprising brothers who came to the UK from Bangladesh as children and created a wealth of £205 million pounds seafood processing, restaurant and cash and carry empire, it’s no surprise that Iqbal Ahmed has been featured as 466th with his family on Sunday Times’ 2015 Rich List.
Iqabal Ahmed’s Seamark Group, a £125 million Manchester Based seafood processor, made £10.5m on £107.3 million sales in 2013. He invested heavily in his homeland and opened a first-class restaurant in Manchester.
He is now the chairman of UK Ahmed Chairman of UK Bangladesh Catalyst of Commerce and Industry, which is also working tirelessly to provide training and mentorship to the new Bangladeshi entrepreneurs.
Iqbal Ahmed OBE was born in Sylhet, Bangladesh in 1956 and came to the UK in 1971. He completed his secondary education at the City College in Westminster, London and joined the family business in Oldham in 1976. Subsequently,
his brothers, Kamal and Bilal joined him and the expansion of the business began. Iqbal is married with three children, two of whom have le university to make their way in the world, one with Seamark, the other a doctor, and the third has begun her degree course at Manchester University. He pioneered the import of frozen fish and seafood products in refrigerated containers and was the first to import the black tiger shrimp into the UK and EU. Iqbal Brothers & Company soon became the leading supplier of warm water frozen fish and shrimps in the EU with a national distribution network it retains to this day. Seamark plc followed in 1991, specializing in the processing and stocking of warm water shrimps, especially the black tiger and the fresh water king prawn. Aer processing and packing, these were exported to most countries in Europe, as a result of which, Seamark received the coveted Queen’s Award for Export Achievement in 1998. is was followed in 1999, by the first prize
in the prestigious Business in Europe Awards. In Bangladesh Seamark received a national award and gold medal for Bangladesh (didn’t undertand one word he wrote here) …consecutive years 2001, 2002, 2003, the highest export of seafood.
As a British investor in the third world, with the support and encouragement of DTI, a new, ultra modern factory, costing USD10 million, was constructed in Chittagong, Bangladesh. HRH e Princess Royal was invited to perform the official opening in November 2000, which she did in the presence of many distinguished guests. e Chittagong factory is operating at full capacity and has been expanded, within the existing site areas, producing value added and ready to eat products such as seafood and vegetable somosa’s, paratha and vegetables. In addition, two further seafood processing companies have been taken over in Bangladesh and the group now boasts its own fleet of deep sea shrimp trawlers equipped with on board freezing facilities, as well as its own hatchery where high quality shrimp can be farmed for export to the world. In 2001, we opened our USA sales office in New Jersey and have since acquired a warehouse and a cold store in Brooklyn, New York to distribute our
products in North America including Canada. In 2005, Seamark constructed a factory in Manchester on a 6.25-acre on a
nearby site in East Manchester. A further development to this site involves a large ai restaurant called Vermilion, which opened in at the end of November 2007. Vermilion features an exceptional décor and the site includes a 200 cover restaurant
on its first floor and a bar with a capacity of 300 and a large private function room for over 100 people on its second floor. All three units have bars and kitchens and are capable of handling large and small events, weddings, business conferences. is complex has provided a new and much larger suite of offices and a cold store (one of the biggest of its kind in Europe with a capacity to store 12,500 tonnes of frozen food) for Seamark’s associated business Ibco Limited (formerly Iqbal Brothers) who, in addition to their well established frozen and ambient food trading has opened a new venture from this site, a wholesale cash & carry unit named Restaurant Wholesale, with the aim of providing everything the modern restaurant will require.
Over the years, Iqbal has been appointed to a number of Government committees and Advisory bodies, among which are the Southern Asia Advisory Group under DTI, the Competitiveness Council, BOND (the British Council) and the Manchester Forum. He is the Director of New East Manchester Limited, the partnership company between Manchester City Council, English Partnerships and North West Development Agency charged with the task of the regeneration East Manchester. In 2006 he was invited to become a member of the Ethical Trading Champions’ Group, set up under the government’s
Food industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS). Iqbal represents the interests and concerns of the Frozen Food Manufacturers. e British Frozen Food Federation nominated him for the position on the Champions’ Group and they submitted their report and recommendations to the goverment at the end of March 2007. He is also the Northwest Regional President of the
Bangladesh British Chamber of Commerce. In November 2007, he was personally invited by George Osborn; Shadow
Chancellor to join his newly formed New Enterprise Council. He is also involved in many charities in the UK and in Bangladesh, including the development of a secondary school and college (Burunga Iqbal Ahmed High School and College) for 1,200 pupils in Sylhet in Northeast Bangladesh. He is Founder and Vice- Chairman of Masjid-ul-aqsa Islamic Centre.