Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Team of the Year entrant – Navid Kaleem and Norfolk & Derby Street Pharmacies

Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Team of the Year entrant – Navid Kaleem and Norfolk & Derby Street Pharmacies
Posted on 03.06.24
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Entrepreneur of the Year, Small Business of the Year and Team of the Year entrant – Navid Kaleem and Norfolk & Derby Street Pharmacies

A beloved grandmother who was an inspiration to her Muslim community and a best friend with a debilitating condition were the motivations for Navid Kaleem’s healthcare career and a business with a turnover approaching £4 million.

The 44-year-old pharmacist always wanted to be a doctor, inspired to make a difference in healthcare after growing up with a best friend who had muscular dystrophy.

He completed a pharmacy degree at Bradford University before heading to London to work at Guys and St Thomas Hospital. But his grandmother missed him hugely – which soon saw him return back to his Shelton roots which is now the home of one of his very successful pharmacies.

Navid, who started out as a locum locally, owns and runs Norfolk Street Pharmacy in Shelton and Derby Street Pharmacy in Hanley.

In 2022-2023 his businesses had a combined turnover of £3.44 million, an increase of 13% from the previous year. In, 2023-2024 that rose again by 15% with a turnover of £3.95 million. The father of five has built and grown his businesses from scratch.

“My grandfather was the first in my family to come to the area in the 1960s. He worked incredibly hard at Shelton Bar and the pottery industry, and my dad followed suit.

“My gran who was affectionately known as Beji, made a massive difference to the local community. Her door was open for people, she always listened, when a baby was born, she was the first to be knitting clothes and when people lost someone close, she was the first to comfort them.

“Growing up seeing how hard my family worked and the difference my gran made to the community made me want to do the same,” he said.

When Shelton Primary Care Centre opened its doors in 2009, Navid spotted the opportunity to open a pharmacy next to it and thanks to his dad, who give his life savings to finance it, that opportunity soon became a reality. Working there also meant he could see his beloved Gran at lunchtimes, as she lived in the next street.

At first Navid was working 100 hours per week, working six days a week – 7am until midnight and then sleeping on a Sunday to keep the pharmacy going.

But as the business grew, by 2012, he was able to bring in more support staff and in 2014 Navid opened his second pharmacy in Derby Street, Hanley.

He now employs 29 staff across both pharmacies, which have dispensed more than 3.15 million prescription items over the years to tens of thousands of patients.

During the pandemic, when the Coronavirus vaccine first became available, under Navid’s guidance and leadership they were one of the first pharmacies to voluntarily participate. Meticulous planning, unwavering commitment and seamless coordination saw them vaccinate more than 30,000 individuals.

Since then, Navid has continued to develop the business, bringing in additional services across both pharmacies to support the local community’s health needs.

In the last 12 months he has introduced the new Pharmacy First Service, which supports people with seven common conditions, including shingles and sinusitis, freeing up GP appointments for those that need them most. Blood pressure and hypertension services have also been introduced.

In the last year alone at Norfolk Street Pharmacy 3,336 blood pressure checks have been conducted – ranking them 26th across pharmacies out of 11,522. Their Community Service has supported 9,851 patients with an average of 17,885 items dispensed each month, placing them as the provider in the local area.

Navid’s path to success hasn’t always been easy: “I had a speech impediment which saw me lash out on occasions and I ended up going to three different schools. I dropped out after my first year at university studying chemical engineering, thinking that education wasn’t for me. I then went to work for Toyota but after a year I just couldn’t imagine doing that for the rest of my life and found myself back at university studying to be a pharmacist.

“It was then that I found the path I was meant to be on – supporting the community my family have loved so much.

“It’s not and never has been without its challenges. Stoke-on-Trent’s status as one of the most deprived cities in Staffordshire has brought with it a set of difficulties that have tested myself and my team. We face abuse and violence on a regular basis. We’ve had harrowing incidents where one of our staff was held at knifepoint. Yet we’ve pulled together as a team to support each other to carry on because we really do want to make a difference.

“I have dedicated my career to prioritising the health and well-being of our community. My vision has always been to serve and care for the people around us, a commitment that’s never wavered despite NHS funding challenges.

“Coming from a deprived background in Shelton, where opportunities were limited, I am extremely proud of what I have achieved. It has surpassed all my expectations. My success so far though has been down to the prayers from my community, the work ethic my grandfather and father showed me and the love and inspiration I received from my Gran every day.”

Navid has also played a pivotal role in shaping future professionals by providing student placements, giving them invaluable hands-on experience and mentorship to complement their academic learning. He has offered more than 150 work experience placements for schools and trained more than 17 pre-reg pharmacists.

Every year through the business Navid donates around £50,000 to charity locally including to the Wendy Jones Trust, the Haji Bashir Foundation, local mosques, The Dougie Mac, Donna Louise, Medical Aid for Palestine and unwar.

Navid, who also has a property portfolio, hasn’t ruled out opening further pharmacies in the future if the need arises.

Navid has entered the Entrepreneur of the Year category of the Staffordshire University Business Awards and has entered his pharmacies in the Small Business of the Year and Team of the Year categories.

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