Founder and Chairman of Empire Direct plc, Madan Showan, attended Bradford Technical College from 1969 to 1974, whilst an apprentice electrician.
“I personally felt uninspired at school. I was 12 and spoke no
English when I came here from the Punjab in Northern India,
where I had changed school several times. The teachers
did not expect much of me. I went to work for Southern &
Redfearns and they sent me to College.
Coming to Bradford Technical College on day release for 4 years as an apprentice was pivotal in my success. I knew what I had to do to and I could get on with it. It was a chance to reinvent myself and re-engage. College gave me a focus as to where I wanted to be. It was a turning point and set me up for life.”
Madan was so determined that as well as attending his day release classes for his City & Guilds, he came to evening classes to study for his O levels in mathematics, physics and English, which he needed to be able to go on to HNC. Madan progressed to the drawing office and then became Assistant Chief Engineer.
Madan changed career in 1980 when he opened his first shop, funded by the sale of the family home. After some false starts and overcoming many setbacks, he used his electrical knowledge to open another shop which developed into Empire Direct, a multi million pound success, supplying and servicing electrical goods throughout the UK. The company collected the best E-Trading Award for the UK in the E-Commerce National Awards.
Madan was won the Lloyds TSB Asian Jewel Business and Commerce Excellence award in 2005 and was awarded an
honorary doctorate by the University of Bradford in 2006 in recognition of his entrepreneurial success and generous
assistance to many international charities.
Photograph by Trevor Griffiths