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“Bangladeshi restaurants have significantly contributed to building up a Curry Empire in Britain”

Mahtab Miah
President BBCCI North-East Region in UK

Mahtab Miah is one of the few British Bangladeshi entrepreneurs who has achieved an extraordinary position in the United Kingdom.
Mr Miah is a prominent business and community leader in the Bangladeshi community in the UK and leads various community organisations as part of his voluntary work. He actively works with the UK Government and other private sectors and financial organisations to assist the Bangladeshi community in the UK and Europe.

Currently, he is director of the British Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce (BBCC) and president of the North East Region of BBCC, since 2013. He is also the presiding Chairman of the Newcastle Bangladeshi Association (NBA) since 2011; and Chairman of Cut Pay Merchant Services Limited.

The visionary Mahtab Miah came to Britain in 1967 at the age of 15, where he experienced many initial struggles in forging a successful path. Settling in the north-east of England, in 1974 he co-established the Motiraj Tandoori Restaurant in Sunderland. The Mahtab Catering Service soon followed in Sunderland. In 1980, he started the Tandoori International Restaurant in South Shields. Finally, in 1990 he opened the famous ‘Vujon’ restaurant in Newcastle upon Tyne, a unique fine-dining experience winning him many national awards including the UK Curry Industry’s equivalent of the “Oscars”. The role and contribution of the “Curry Empire” to the British economy is significantly extensive. Under the creative leadership of entrepreneur Mahtab Miah, these Bangladeshi restaurants have taken on a new dimension in modernising and constantly creating new trends in food. The success and reputation of the Bangladeshi catering industry in the UK has been well documented in the mainstream media and politics.
Self-made Mahtab Miah has always performed with utmost determination and sincerity. Although now retired from the catering industry, Mahtab Miah continues his other passions – with a long history of involvement in the politics and economic activities of the country in the spirit of building a prosperous Bangladesh.

A man of many qualities, Mahtab Miah became involved in social activities from an early age.
As a young non-resident Bangladeshi, living in Manchester, Mr Miah took an active role in organising and mobilising other youths to participate in demonstrations and raise funds for the Bangladesh Liberation Movement in 1971; under the Local Action Committee leadership of Mr M.A. Motin and Dr Kabir Choudhury in Manchester, and National leadership of Justice Abu Syed Choudhury. These demonstrations took place locally in the North of England, as well as in historical sites such as Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square in London.
In 1974, he was the coordinator and Chairman of the Sunderland Jame Mosque. At the same time, he served as the founding Chairman of the Sunderland Shapla Jubo Shongo Youth Association, aiming to unite youths of the local Bangladeshi community.

Community leader Mahtab Miah played a key role in the development of the community as Deputy General Secretary of the Tyne and Wear Bangladeshi Association in 1975. Extending to Executive Member of the Tyne and Wear Community Relations Service in 1985, and a member of the Northumbria Police and Community Liaison Group in 1986.

Mahtab Miah’s intellectual efforts under the leadership of political and social organizations have been appreciated by all quarters. He was the Secretary General of the Jatiyo Janata Party North East in 1981, Founder and Chairman of South Tyneside Bangladesh Association in 1984, Chairman of the North East Youth (Jubo Shongo) Association in 1986, Senior Vice Chairman of the Bangladeshi National Party in the United Kingdom in 1993, and Vice Chairman of the Greater Sylhet Development and Welfare Council UK in 1993.
As Senior Vice President of Bangladesh Caterer’s Association UK in 1995, he raised over £25,000 for cyclone aid efforts.
Since becoming Chairman of the (NBA) in 2011, he has contributed in setting up various local initiatives to strengthen the community’s roots to their motherland, including Bangla School, Bangladeshi Community Centre and Jame Masjid. In 2016, Mahtab Miah had the pivotal role of designing and overseeing the development of a new building for the Newcastle Jame Masjid.

In October 2017, the NBA under leadership of Mahtab Miah, initiated the installation of a new deep tube well at a cost of 5 lakh Taka with the help of Oxfam to provide clean drinking water for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. This enables 15,000 refugees to drink pure clean water every day. The NBA has also provided 16 lakh Taka financial assistance to flood victims from Sullah Upzilla in Sunamgonj in 2017.

Amongst many other community initiatives, Mahtab Miah with other trustees of the Nabigonj Education Trust UK established the Nabigonj UK ICT Institute, enabling many students to gain computer-based knowledge.

Mahtab Miah married Syeda Salma, daughter of popular advocate Syed Sarfaraz Ali, a resident of Shah Mostafa Road in Maulvi Bazar. They are proud parents of professionally successful and meritorious Pancharatna. All five of their daughters are highly skilled in their field of profession – one barrister, two dental surgeons, one consultant doctor and one chartered accountant. As a successful father of five talented daughters, Newcastle’s popular magazine “North-East Exclusive” published a cover story about Mahtab Miah titled “Our Father” in August 2004. Another recognition was when Syeda Salma Mahtab was awarded “Mother of the Year” in 2013, a prestigious title granted by television channel, ATN Bangla UK.

In his spare time, Mahtab Miah enjoys travelling and is an avid golfer, who also enjoys angling.

Mahtab Miah is an enlightened man of the time, who is as successful in his career as he is in his family life, which led to him being included in the British Bangladeshi Power 100 in 2013.

About Mohammad Shaheen

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