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Zak Patel

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Zak Patel (entrepreneur) made a name for himself in the telecommunications industry with his network of O2 franchises - Talk Direct. He is also the managing director of Pugata, a luxury jewellery company, which provides wedding rings, necklaces and bracelets to retailers, as well as a bespoke offering for individual clients.[1]

Early Years[edit | edit source]

Zak initially started in face-to-face retailing when working in Leeds Market every Saturday from the age of 13 until the age of 16.

He said: "I was selling leather jackets for a local businessman and that’s how I basically started off.”

After selling jackets in Leeds Market, Mr Patel went to work for his auntie’s newsagents in Lancashire and from there he went on to running his own newsagents along with his brother and sister. It was here that he the idea to begin his own mobile phone franchise when a free promotion of mobile phones dropped into the shop.

“It was a Motorola. It came brand new in the box and we decided put it up for sale. We got this mobile phone free for buying x amount of top up cards and we sold it straight away. “We thought wow, this is so much more profitable than running a convenience store and selling Mars Bars. “It made me realise that this is something that maybe I need to build on, so we built a designated corner and one thing led to another and it became very successful.”

This led to the birth of TalkDirect, which in 2012 saw what Mr Patel describes as a “massive” expansion – going from four stores to 12 to eventually 14 across the region.

He now has 16 shops around Yorkshire and employs 250 staff.[2][3]

Philanthropy Work[edit | edit source]

Patel, who owns over 14 02 stores throughout Yorkshire, has been lauded for his philanthropy work. He famously stepped in to help one of his Talk Direct employees, who found that he was losing his eyesight due to a condition called diabetic retinopathy, and created a unique role for him through the Project I care initiative.

Instead of laying him off, Zak helps Mark Skelton, who was fearful about losing his job at the O2 franchise, having just got married and bought a house.

Speaking at the time, Skelton told The Yorkshire Post: "“I’d only just got married and I’d just bought a new house so I was really concerned about work because without work there would be no house,” he said.

Mr Patel explained to The Yorkshire Post about how he understood what Mark was going through, having seen a family member go through something similar: “From a humane perspective you just can’t vacate somebody’s job, especially when you have the background that we come from. My own grandma suffered from the same condition because of diabetes so we knew as a family what people go through and the challenges it brings.

“Hence, Zak me and his HR Manager, Idris Patel, got together and said let’s create a role for Mark.”

Designed to help people with sight issues use technology to communicate and make their lives easier, Project iCare was launched in 2014. Mr Skelton, who prior to losing his sight was an assistant store leader in Rotherham, became project ambassador for iCare.

For his efforts, Zak received a special judges’ award for his pioneering Project iCare campaign to provide access to technology for visually impaired people at the 2016 02 franchise of the year awards.

He told Elite Franchise Magazine about how he was in a unique position to help somebody in his team who understood what being blind felt like but also knew the technology inside out.

He said: "Together, we developed Project iCare, a programme that helps blind people use mobile technology better. As well as working with charities, we’ve made sure all our floor staff have been trained in how to cater to customers with visual impairments and suggest technology based on their needs."[4][5][6]

Diana Awards

In December 2018, Zak was once again invited to Downing Street to celebrate the Diana Awards 19th Anniversary alongside fellow donors and dignitaries.

Mr Patel said he was honoured to have been invited, insisting people should work together to build a deeply caring society and become ‘more creative and generous in the work we do to break down barriers’.

He told the Batley News: “I am delighted to accept the invitation to share some highlights of 2018 and the plans for next year, which will be the Diana Award’s 20th Anniversary."[7]

Work Experience For Disabled

In December 2018, Zak launched a new scheme to give people with disabilities work experience opportunities.

He set out plans to help those with learning disabilities by creating a number of internship and work experience opportunities in an attempt to tackle the lack of employment opportunities disabled men and women face in the area, with a recently launched pilot scheme, hailed a success after 24-year-old Joe Butterworth, from Dewsbury, completed a work experience opportunity, working with the company’s In-house photographer by learning to take pictures and videos of hand-crafted jewellery.

Speaking at the time, Zak said: “We strive to ensure it is their voice that is heard and their stories that are told, so having people with learning disabilities on the production team is hugely important to us.

“Therefore, each intern will be given a specially tailored package based on their individual circumstances and needs.”[8]

Honours in 2013, Zak was scooped the prize for best franchisee at the Mobile industry Awards.

The judging panel was impressed with Zak’s ambition and his ability to make his company’s voice heard in the local community.

The judges said: “Talk Direct clearly has great ambition. Opening a flagship store in Dewsbury was a bold move and it’s good to see the local community benefiting from free mobile training given by the store ‘guru’.”

They added: “A good franchisee will work with the assets of the parent brand, but bring innovation, commitment and a strong local presence to the party. Talk Direct is certainly doing these things. It’s a good marriage.”[9]

In 2015, Zak was awarded the SME Business of the Year at the YABA Awards in Yorkshire.[10]

in 2016, Zak received a special judges’ award for his pioneering Project iCare campaign to provide access to technology for visually impaired people at the 2016 02 franchise of the year awards.

He told Elite Franchise Magazine about how he was in a unique position to help somebody in his team who understood what being blind felt like but also knew the technology inside out.

He said: "Together, we developed Project iCare, a programme that helps blind people use mobile technology better. As well as working with charities, we’ve made sure all our floor staff have been trained in how to cater to customers with visual impairments and suggest technology based on their needs."[6][5]

In December 2018, Zak was once again invited to Downing Street to celebrate the Diana Awards 19th Anniversary alongside fellow donors and dignitaries.

Mr Patel said he was honoured to have been invited, insisting people should work together to build a deeply caring society and become ‘more creative and generous in the work we do to break down barriers’.

He told the Batley News: “I am delighted to accept the invitation to share some highlights of 2018 and the plans for next year, which will be the Diana Award’s 20th Anniversary.[7]

Pugata

Zak launched Pugata in 2015. He got into the jewellery trade in Thailand and his company now designs and manufactures bespoke jewelry, sourcing high quality gems from around the world.

The name Pugata is taken from the letters of the symbols for gold (Au) silver (Ag) and platinum (Pt) in the periodic table.[3]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Pugata: From one kind of ring to another for TalkDirect boss Zak Patel". YorkshirePost. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  2. "From mobile phones to fashion brands, it's all in a day's work". YorkshirePost. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "How high-end jewellery brand Pugata is putting Batley on the map". ExaminerLive. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  4. "Pioneering mobile phone service a lifeline for the partially sighted". YorkshirePost. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Franchisee of the year 2016: the winners". BFA. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Meet Zak Patel, the bfa's judges' special award winner". BFA. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Downing Street Inivitation For Zak". BatleyNews. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  8. "Pugatas Gem Of An Opportunity". BatleyNews. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  9. "O2 franchisee Zak Patel wins mobile industry award". ExaminerLive. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  10. "Yabalauds Asian success". AsianLite. Retrieved 13 September 2013.

External links[edit | edit source]


Zak Patel (entrepreneur)[edit | edit source]

Mopug (talk) 19:12, 23 February 2019 (UTC)


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