Imran Hakim (BSc Optometry and Vision Sciences 1999) – Entrepreneur, CEO of The Hakim Group
Imran Hakim is one of the North West’s leading entrepreneurs.
He started in business aged just 15, thanks to a £2,000 loan from his father, and went on to become one of the biggest success stories from the BBC’s Dragon’s Den programme: in 2007 his award-winning iTeddy secured a worldwide distribution deal covering 45 different countries.
Imran graduated from The University of Manchester in 1999 with a BSc (Hons) in Optometry and Vision Sciences, but his years in higher education were not solely dedicated to study: he continued to juggle the demands of building his business empire while completing his degree.
After graduating, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to open an opticians in Bolton, quickly followed by a locum recruitment company. Since then, he has built a portfolio of businesses, including a chain of optical retail practices, lens laboratory, spectacle frame distribution and interior optical shop-fitters.
The Hakim Group is now the strongest independent optical group in the UK, and is the largest optical group outside of the industry’s ‘big four’.
Imran now concentrates on expanding his business portfolio by investing in other companies, and uses mentoring and ambassadorial roles to encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs.
His energy and dedication has seen him win numerous business awards, including a Mosaic Award for Science and Technology from HRH Prince of Wales. He has also been a director of entrepreneurship at The University of Manchester Intellectual Property (UMIP) division, helping to turn world-leading research into world-beating companies, products and services.