Nighat Awan was born in Manchester and raised in Pakistan and in Manchester. Ask anyone who knows Nighat, who has met her in business or at an event they would describe her as inspiring and passionate.
A truly champion of diversity, with hands on experience not only within business but assisting and mentoring young people, women and disadvantaged groups. Nighat counts four highly successful and very diverse companies amongst her business achievements, encompassing fashion, floristry, food and most recently property and interior design. She is currently CEO of the Shere Khan Group of restaurants and curry products. Nighat is equally well known for her tireless charitable activities, she is also a council member of the CBI and chair of the Ethnic Minority Business Forum – North West, part of the North West Regional Development Agency.
In 2004 Nighat was awarded the O.B.E. in the Queen's Birthday Honours in recognition of her services to export and to charity.
Other accolades include: Outstanding Contribution award at Manchester's Food and Drink festival (2004), the Business Award in the Muslim News Awards for Excellence (2005) and the Entrepreneur Award in the Asian Women of Achievement Awards (2005). Nighat was a finalist in the Great Briton 2005 Awards, alongside such household names as Jamie Oliver and Dame Ellen MacArthur, and in July 2006 received an honorary doctorate from Manchester Metropolitan University.
Nighat has suffered over 15 years of ill health since 1991 from Cancer of the Thyroid, Motor Neurone Disease which left her paralysed for almost a year to Heart Surgery after being diagnosed with inflammation around the heart. Despite all her illnesses Nighat has remained positive, focused and upbeat.