A scientist, entrepreneur, influencer and philanthropist, who started his pharmaceuticals business from his home garage in the 1990s and turned it into a multi-million-pound global company, is to be made an honorary professor at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL says he is ‘honoured and privileged’ to be made an honorary Professor of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Philanthropy, some 35 years after he had first considered a career in academia.
Dr Nik in his Pro-Chancellor gowns for graduations
Dr Kotecha says he will use the title “to lead by example, raise students’ aspirations and show them there is a world of opportunity out there”.
The Founder and former Chair of Morningside Pharmaceuticals, a Leicestershire manufacturer, wholesaler and exporter of medicines and healthcare products, Dr Kotecha has always been driven to succeed in business, but he is also driven to help those most in need.
Before divesting of the business in October 2022, Dr Kotecha grew the company into one of the UK’s leading life sciences businesses delivering its products twice daily to UK pharmacies and hospitals; as well as supplying medical products to the world’s largest aid organisations, such as UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, and the Red Cross. The company exported to over 120 countries.
Dr Kotecha and his family also established The Randal Charitable Foundation in 2017, with a vision to help the most vulnerable, significantly improve the quality of life for those in need, and to directly save one million lives globally.
The drive to succeed and help others stems from Dr Kotecha’s own humble beginnings.
The Kotecha’s were among the 70,000 refugees forced to flee their homes and possessions 50 years ago when dictator President Idi Amin gave Ugandan Asians just 90 days to leave the country or suffer a fatal consequence.
Thanks to a County Council grant, Dr Kotecha was able to gain a First Class Hons chemistry degree in Newcastle, and then a PhD at Imperial College London with further doctoral research at the University of Cambridge.
He knows all too well how important a good education is when it comes to creating better futures.
So, he is looking forward to sharing his experiences with DMU students to inspire them to achieve great things through learning. He will also continue his close association with Loughborough, Leicester, and other universities to inspire students and academics across the country.
Dr Kotecha, who is also a Pro-Chancellor at DMU and presides over graduation ceremonies, said: “I was carefully considering a career in academia after university, and with 35 years in business instead, I never thought I would be receiving the title of ‘Professor’.
“To now be honoured with this title is special. DMU teaches many students who are in the situation I was in 40 years ago. Many are the first generation of their family to go to university, from disadvantaged families and diverse ethnic cultures.
Dr Kotecha says he is proud of graduates as they cross the stage during ceremonies
“When I meet the families and see these young people walk by me onto the stage at graduations, in my role as Pro Chancellor, I am incredibly proud that DMU has provided these excellent graduates with the opportunities they deserve.
“Education opened many doors and gave me important chances in life. I would be humbled if today’s students would see my story as an inspiration to raise their aspirations and follow their own dreams.
“I started Morningside from a home garage 30 years ago and grew it through entrepreneurship and embracing innovation into a global pharmaceuticals manufacturer and exporter. I hope that I will be able to share my story with students and inspire them to say, ‘if he can do it, I can do it’. If this is the case, then I will have succeeded in my role as Professor.
“I was there making life-changing decisions as a student in the 1990s, so I understand what today’s students are going through now. I would like to help them discover that the skills they have learned in academia will open them up to so many more exciting opportunities in the world.”
Dr Kotecha is also looking forward to working in an advisory role within the university, drawing on his experience as an influencer in business, politics, and philanthropy.
Having built Morningside from the ground up, Dr Kotecha recently sold the business and is now committed to changing lives everywhere through his public service work and Randal Charitable Foundation.
Dr Nik turned Morningside Pharmaceuticals into a multi-million-pound business
So, having achieved so much, what advice does Dr Kotecha give to anyone wanting to follow in his entrepreneurial and philanthropic footsteps?
“It is very simple for me,” he says.
“Find your passion.
“Then when you find your passion, discover your purpose in life.
“And having discovered your purpose in life, find your career.
“After coming to the UK as a refugee with my family as a child, I have experienced what it feels like to be hungry and homeless. But I was extremely fortunate. I have a loving family, who ensured they pushed me to receive a good education under incredibly difficult circumstances.
“My passion has therefore always been to find out how I can give back. How can I help people going through similar experiences? How can I support people from disadvantaged backgrounds reach their full potential?
“What I want to do is give students’ opportunities and inspire them to follow their own dreams. It takes passion, commitment, hard work; but can be achieved by anyone who has the will and a positive attitude.”
Simon Oldroyd, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: “DMU is so proud to welcome Dr Kotecha as an honorary Professor of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Philanthropy. He is one of Leicestershire’s great business success stories and he has helped millions around the globe.
“The vast experience Dr Kotecha has accrued in the world of medicine, business and philanthropy over 35 years, coupled with his incredible drive to succeed and help others, will bring huge benefits to our students, academics and the wider community.”
Posted on Monday 21st November 2022