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Parminder Vir obe

Parminder Vir obe
  • Member since: 12/2/2020

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Biography

Born in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India. My Father was a primary school teacher who became a “voucher migrant” to England in 1963, leaving behind his wife and three daughters.

Having never travelled more than 30...

Born in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India. My Father was a primary school teacher who became a “voucher migrant” to England in 1963, leaving behind his wife and three daughters.

Having never travelled more than 30 KM from my village, in July 1965, I found myself with my mother and sisters on a train to Delhi; then on a plane to England to join our father who had settled in Southampton.

The accepted wisdom, in early 1980’s Britain was – it’s impossible for someone like me – a working class immigrant - to break into the film and TV. The spark to make films was lit in 1982, when I organised a Festival of Black American Films in London. Watching these films and listening to the struggles of African American filmmakers to tell their stories fuelled my imagination to do just that in the UK. I never went to film school and yet sustained a career in the industry for over two decades, telling compelling untold stories from around the world.

My first board experience was terrifying. In 1981, at just 26-years old, I was appointed to the BBC Board of Governors. Since then, serving as a Board director of several private and public-sector boards, my mission has been to ensure the organisations deliver on their promises to their communities, stakeholders, investors, and members. The experience has been priceless, exposing me to different leadership styles, perspectives organisation cultures and expanding my professional networks. Being invited to serve on a board, I have come to appreciate is a privilege and a responsibility, not to be abused.

My career has been about solving problems, meeting great challenges, and making a contribution. Inspired by the Founder, Tony Elumelu’s vision to institutionalise luck and democratise opportunity to create a generation of African entrepreneurs, I joined the Tony Elumelu Foundation, based in Lagos, Nigeria, in April 2014, to help operationalise this vision. It was an opportunity to bring my unique mix of talent and passion to design, develop and implement one of the most ambitious entrepreneurship programmes on the continent. The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 entrepreneurs for the economic development of Africa.

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