Reuben Singh

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Reuben Singh, (born 20 September 1976, Poynton, Cheshire, England), is a British entrepreneur, who became well known in the mid-1990s for his Miss Attitude retail chain and then later for his business support services company alldaypa. He has held many public appointments and was invited by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair to serve on a government advisory panel on small businesses and on the Competitiveness Council.[1] He served on the seven man government task force which was asked to review and then report on the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport.[2] and was appointed as a founding member of the government's Small Business Council. Alongside Sir Alan Sugar and Sir Richard Branson he was also appointed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown as one of the five UK Ambassadors for Entrepreneurship[citation needed].

On 26 January 2003 The World Economic Forum honoured him[3][4] as one of the "Global Leaders of Tomorrow" (GLT)[5][6] in Davos. On 13 October 2003 his portrait was included in the UK National Portrait Gallery In May 2005 he was invited to Dubai by His Royal Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum the Dubai Crown Prince to address an audience of over 1000 business leaders and entrepreneurs.[7] In 2003 the MIT Boston Technology Review Magazine voted him one of the World's top Innovators in their prestigious review.[8]

His charitable work includes working to support HRH Prince Charles Prince's Trust working with young entrepreneurs and supporting interfaith partnerships in the UK.[9][10][11][12]

In early 2005 he courted controversy with a high profile court case and newspaper investigations into his business interests.[13] Around this time he lost control of alldaypa. The company, however, has grown rapidly since then with the company's financial statements recording increased profits year on year (2004-2011), building up partnerships with multinational companies such as T-Mobile[14] and MBNA credit card. Singh still remained on the management team of the company. In October 2007 he was declared bankrupt on the petition of Bank of Scotland further to a dispute over a loan he had personally guaranteed, a case that lasted from 2004 till 2007. Singh was automatically discharged from bankruptcy after one year, as is standard procedure in the UK, in October 2008.[15] Since 2007 has adopted a much lower profile and withdrawn from the media spotlight.

Early years[edit]

Reuben Singh was born into a wealthy family who ran a large importing business, Sabco, and had business interests in Canada. They came to England in the 1970s and had a family home in Poynton, an affluent village in Cheshire.

His first business, Miss Attitude, was a retail chain which sold girls' accessories and opened in 1995 in the Manchester Arndale Centre. Dozens of stores opened up across the UK, and soon there were hundreds. Early reports cited his wealth at around £10 million, all while he was studying for his A-Levels at William Hulme's Grammar School in Manchester.[citation needed]

In 1999, Miss Attitude was sold for a reported sum of £22 million, bringing his wealth to around £45 million.[16]

Celebrity status[edit]

He had an entry in the 1998 Guinness Book of Records as the world's youngest self-made millionaire with a fortune of £27.5m (but the entry was subsequently disqualified).[citation needed] He featured in lists such as the Rich List of The Sunday Times,[17] and his portrait included in the National Portrait Gallery.[18] In 2003 the MIT Boston Technology Review Magazine voted him one of the World's top Innovators in their prestigious review.[19]

His charitable work included working to support HRH Prince Charles Prince's Trust.[20][21][22][12]

He also won awards for his business and entrepreneurship, such as the National Business Awards 2002,[23] Microsoft New Business of the Year 2002, The Times 500 "Most Powerful under 30-year old in Britain", Times 500 Most Powerful Individuals as "Most Powerful under 30-year old in Britain".[24]

Financial controversy[edit]

In 2002, an article in the Manchester Evening News - followed a few days later by an article in the Financial Mail - contained damning information regarding his business ventures.[25] The articles called him little more than a fantasist and that his wealth and business success was considerably less than he claimed. It also revealed that the buyer of Miss Attitude, American financier Gary Klesch, claimed to have bought the debt-laden business for £1.

Singh himself told Sathnam Sanghera of the Financial Times that "these stories are just rumours based on jealousy and are a total misrepresentation", adding that a confidentiality clause prohibited him from discussing the matter.[26]

He then, suffered somewhat of a backlash from the media. The Manchester Evening News, which had previously printed positive stories about Singh, began to run negative pieces and sought to expose any discrepancies in his affairs.[27][28] The paper alleged that he had used the press to his advantage, using inaccurate reports about his business prowess to further inflate his reputation as a successful entrepreneur.[29]

MP Graham Stringer called for tighter regulations after Singh was able to gain a position on a Government advisory panel without any prior checks.[30]

Another company set up by Singh, a health food company called Robson & Steinberg, folded after less than a year of trading, with debts of £250,000.[31]

Questions were raised about what Singh called the 'Reuben Singh Group of Companies.' According to Singh, these were 12 trading entities dealing in currency trading, property, retail and construction. However a search in the Britain, Companies House listed only two British companies with any net assets of £1000 and £100. The other five British companies that Singh was listed as director had never filed any accounts but concern was raised on a £2.64m payment that Singh paid overseas from one of the companies.[32]

Further problems arose in relation to a multimillion pound overdraft which Singh had guaranteed. In 2004 he was sued by the Royal Bank of Scotland, with judge Michael Kershaw QC ordering Singh to pay the bank £1,229,966 for an overdraft and their legal costs. The judge commented, "(The banker) was, I think, to some extent a victim of Mr Singh's personality as well as Mr Singh's lies."[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.dti.gov.uk/comp/competitive/pdfs/compindx.pdf
  2. ^ http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/peerreview.pdf
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "ZoomInfo Cached Page". Cache.zoominfo.com. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  5. ^ "ZoomInfo Cached Page". Cache.zoominfo.com. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ "Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed opens 'Entrepreneurs in Dubai' | Entrepreneurs in Dubai". AMEinfo.com. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  8. ^ Manfred Stefener, 33 SFC Smart Fuel Cell. "TR35: Rueben Singh, 27". Technology Review. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  9. ^ [3][dead link]
  10. ^ "News. Reuben Singh put his faith in Timebank Initiative". Redhotcurry. 2003-11-24. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  11. ^ http://www.wmin.ac.uk/wbs/PDF/westbus10.pdf
  12. ^ a b http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/pressAndInformationOffice/staffStudentsAndAlumni/newsandviews/02-12-2002.htm
  13. ^ This Is Money (2002-12-15). "The truth about Britain's 'youngest self-made millionaire'". This is Money. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  14. ^ http://www.brandrepublic.com/Revolution/News/149590/?DCMP=ILC-SEARCH
  15. ^ [4][dead link]
  16. ^ [5][dead link]
  17. ^ Sunday Times - Rich List
  18. ^ "Reuben Singh". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  19. ^ Manfred Stefener, 33 SFC Smart Fuel Cell. "TR35: Rueben Singh, 27". Technology Review. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  20. ^ [6][dead link]
  21. ^ "News. Reuben Singh put his faith in Timebank Initiative". Redhotcurry. 2003-11-24. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  22. ^ http://www.wmin.ac.uk/wbs/PDF/westbus10.pdf
  23. ^ Winner of National Business Awards 2002
  24. ^ Reuben Singh's City Speakers page
  25. ^ The truth about Britain's 'youngest self-made millionaire'
  26. ^ Sathnam Sanghera interviews Reuben Singh
  27. ^ Truth behind schoolboy tycoon - News - Manchester Evening News
  28. ^ M.E.N. Tycoon Image of Man With Attitude
  29. ^ M.E.N. - Singh Used Press to his Advantage
  30. ^ Manchester Evening News - Plea After Probe Into Firms Sale
  31. ^ Cosmetic success: The fallen business star - Home News, UK - Independent.co.uk
  32. ^ Simon Donohoe (2003-11-11). "Auditors concerns are blow to AlldayPA chief | Manchester Evening News - menmedia.co.uk". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  33. ^ 'You Are A Liar, Reuben' Manchester Evening News 23 September 2005