Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Honorary Professorship for Leicestershire Philanthropist & Business Leader

Honorary Professorship for Leicestershire Philanthropist & Business Leader

An honorary professorship has been bestowed by De Montfort University upon a Leicestershire philanthropist and business leader.

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL, has been appointed Professor of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Philanthropy for the Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, some 35 years after he completed his PhD in Medicinal Chemistry.

Since leaving education, Dr Kotecha has become a well-known entrepreneur, having founded Loughborough based Morningside Pharmaceuticals in 1991, which he divested of in October this year. In 2017 he established his own charitable foundation, the Randal Charitable Foundation, which has an aspiration to directly save 1 million lives in the UK and globally.   

Dr Kotecha, who is also a Pro Chancellor at DMU, said:

“I was carefully considering a career in academia after university, and with 30 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.

“When I meet their 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.”

For Dr Kotecha the honorary professorship is particularly special because his family came to Leicester 50 years ago as refugees, when he was a child, after the Ugandan Asian community were expelled by the Dictator Idi Amin. 

Supported by his parents, he was able to secure a County Council grant, which enabled him to gain a first-class (Hons) degree in Newcastle, and then his PhD at Imperial College London with further doctoral research at the University of Cambridge.

As part of his new role, Dr Kotecha will be delivering guest lectures, while sharing his expertise with students and academics across all faculties, with a focus on enterprise and innovation development, as well as student employability.

Talking about his ambition to share his own experiences, in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs, Dr Kotecha said:

“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. It takes passion, commitment, hard work; but can be achieved by anyone who has the will and a positive attitude.

“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.”

As well as sharing his experiences with the students, Dr Kotecha will also be taking up an advisory role with the university’s Leadership Team; drawing on his experience as an influencer in business, politics, and philanthropy.

This experience as a regional and national leader in the business world includes being Chair of the East Midlands CBI, a Department for International Trade Export Champion; and a Board Member for the Midlands Engine Council, the Centre for Social Justice, the British Asian Trust and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

Talking about the advice he plans to share with students, Dr Kotecha added:

“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.

“My advice would be, find your passion. Then when you find your passion, discover your purpose in life. And having discovered your purpose in life, find your career.”

Congratulating Dr Kotecha on his appointment, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Simon Oldroyd, said:

“DMU is so proud to welcome Dr Kotecha as a 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.”

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