The boss of a Corby woodworking firm has been crowned 2022 Entrepreneur of the Year at a black-tie business awards event.
Amarjit Binji, chief executive officer of AJB Group in Earlstrees Road, beat off stiff competition to win the prestigious title at the Midlands Business Awards. Winners across the 11 categories were announced at a gala event held in Leicester on Friday (March 4).
Amarjit was joined by members of his family, friends, colleagues and his two sons, Aaron and Jai, aged nine and 12.
The MBAs were established in 2006 to give highly valued recognition to exceptional growing businesses across East and West Midlands.
Amarjit said: “I was totally shocked to win this award but equally humbled and delighted.
“It is no easy feat to navigate a business and achieve continuing growth whilst advocating for innovation and change in our specialist sector but it is worth it to have tributes like this and see the hard work paying off.
“I am incredibly proud of my dream team who all have a part to play in our collective success.”
The candidates were evaluated based on their entrepreneurial leadership, talent management, financial performance, societal impact, degree of difficulty in navigating and overcoming obstacles to make their companies successful, and originality, among other core contributions and attributes.
Amarjit was one of six finalists in his category. He was selected by an independent panel of judges for his outstanding positive leadership coupled with a strong track record of commercial success and driving a positive agenda for best practice and change in his sector whilst demonstrating his commitment to the community through the firm’s charitable activities.
The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “I’d like to congratulate Amarjit Binji on being crowned ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the 2022 Midlands Business Awards. Businesses are the heartbeat of British economy. Entrepreneurs play a pivotal role in wealth creation and adding even greater value to all aspects of our British ways of life, more so now than ever before.”
Helen Hewitt, Chief Executive of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), said: “It gives me enormous pleasure to congratulate Amarjit on winning the Entrepreneur of the Year’ category of the Midlands Business Awards. As a proud ambassador of the woodworking and manufacturing industry, Amarjit’s passion, drive and dedication to this sector is commendable. As BWF Award winners in the past, this is not a surprise and is another example of how Amarjit has lead and developed the AJB Group. Well done, Amarjit.”
AJB Group is a manufacturer of world-class joinery products manufacturing timber windows, external and interior solid joinery door and frames. Its customer base includes The Shard, BBC TV Centre, Centre point and Battersea Power Station, as well as famous celebrities. AJB Group continues to work in partnership on selected projects with Shadbolt & Sons, Braintree-based manufacturer of upmarket timber products, a family firm established in 1884 by Frederick Robert Shadbolt.
Amarjit’s career began at the age of 12. He started out as a carpenter and joiner. Frustrated with the lack of innovation and modern technique within his specialist field, he decided to set up his own company in 1999. AJB Group currently employs around 40 staff, including his brother Mandeep, sister Kully and best friend of over 35 years, Hitesh, who work as Operations Director, HR Director and Project Manager, respectively. Darren Moore, Factory Manager, is the longest-serving employee. He has been with the business for 23 years.
AJB Group uses timber from trees from across the globe and chooses to buy only from sustainable sources, those which are committed to tree planting. In addition, the company has installed a bio-mass boiler which means it uses no gas and 100% of its waste is recycled to heat the factory which mean zero waste to landfill.
AJB Group began in a 13,500 square feet factory in Leicester’s Oadby Industrial Estate. In 2015, the business relocated to a 40,000 square feet state-of-the-art factory in Corby.
Amarjit paid a glowing tribute to his late grandmother who, he said, had consistently reminded him of the foundations of the Sikh faith and core human values which are so common across all major religions. Among her many reminders were, ‘be humble and give back to those most in need’. Another, ‘treat how you wish to be treated and count all humans as equal’.