Meet Suleman Raza – The Man on a Mission.
Hailing from Rawalpindi, Pakistan I moved to London around 20 years back to seize the opportunities here for building a better future for myself and my family.
I started out as a chef in an eatery while aspiring to open my own restaurant one day. I took inspiration from my childhood memories of eating desi food prepared by my mother using various secret recipes. Later on, my brother and I saw the first manifestation of our dreams in the form of a small restaurant with takeaway and minimal seating in Tooting which then grew into a chain of restaurants. My vision for the culinary business has always been to market my restaurants as a Pakistani restaurant serving Pakistani cuisine. And it’s a point of pride for me being able to bring recognition about Pakistani cuisine, its rich taste and health benefits of our spices.
For me, Spice Village being recognized for its Pakistani Cuisine is extremely heartening. Why? Because Spice Village represents Pakistan. Spice Village is a brand that is promoting Pakistan internationally. The sole purpose of my business activities is to represent my country abroad in the best way possible.
This is why, as the Co-Chairman of the UK Pakistan Business Council, I have always emphasized on promoting Pakistani brands internationally and specially in the UK. I have a dream of seeing Pakistani brands compete with brands in the international market. I have a dream that when I walk down the street, I see shops of Pakistani brands, right beside shops of international brands. A brand represents its country. A strong brand represents a nation with impressive economic power and a weak brand represents a nation that is weak economically. This is why my focus is to help Pakistanis not only penetrate the UK market, but also to improve their product/service quality, customer service and business practices. I strongly believe that my mission is to promote Pakistan, its people and its brands internationally in the best way possible. This is why I took initiative with projects like One Million Meals and Mirpur Royals. These are projects that enable me to highlight the soft image of Pakistan internationally. With One Million Meals, I strived to feed thousands of front-line workers especially the NHS Staff during the time of the deadly CoronaVirus. The campaign was highlighted and received wide media coverage on a global level. The initiative was also appreciated by the Prime Minister of the UK, Mr. Boris Johnson and stars like David Beckham and Amir Khan. This was again, a chance to represent Pakistan and a chance for me to uplift the reputation of my country internationally. Recently, my efforts were recognized by the Asian Catering Federation as well. I was presented the ‘Community Hero of the Year’ Award for the year 2021 by the honourable Lord Sheikh and the members of the Asian Catering Federation at the House of Lords.
My decision to acquire the ‘Mirpur Royals’ franchise was driven by my desire to work for the betterment of Kashmir and Kashmiris. For me, Mirpur Royals and the Kashmir Premier League hold immense emotional importance and attachment.
Through Mirpur Royals, I had a chance to give back to the people of Pakistan. I had a chance to offer a platform to the aspiring sportsmen and women to make a mark for themselves and grow together with the land of Kashmir. Through Mirpur Royals, I told the world that Kashmir and Kashmiris stand for peace and love.
I am on a mission. A mission to represent Pakistan’s soft image across the world. Every venture that I decide to take part in contributes to my journey of striving to make Pakistan proud. As the co-chairman of the UK Pakistan Business Council, I aim to do the same.