Lord Karan Bilimoria

Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE

Entrepreneur and Founder of Cobra Beer

As a keynote speaker Karan has had huge inspirational impact, earning the respect of fellow business leaders and organisations as he tells his story of developing the highly successful Cobra Beer brand. In 2004 Karan was awarded the CBE.

Speaker enquiry

Entrepreneur and founder of Cobra Beer, Lord Karan Bilimoria is an expert in Business, Leadership, Marketing and Branding.

As a keynote speaker Karan has had huge inspirational impact, earning the respect of fellow business leaders and organisations as he tells his story of developing the highly successful Cobra Beer brand.

Karan became a qualified Chartered Accountant with Ernst and Young, before studying law at Cambridge University, where he created Cobra Beer; a new variety of premium lager that was less gassy, could compliment food and is brewed to appeal to both ale and lager drinkers alike.

Fifteen years later, Cobra Beer was one of the fastest growing beer brands in the UK and was ranked in the 1999 Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100. In 2005, Cobra Beer was awarded two Grand Gold Medals and nine Gold Medals, which is more than any other beer company in the world, at the Monde Selection Awards in Brussels. Cobra Beer has also received the International High Quality Trophy in 2003 for its achievements.

In 1999, Karan launched General Bilimoria Wines. Produced in France, the acclaimed brand is now listed as the house wine for some Michelin-star restaurants, as well as hundreds of others.

Aside from his duties as Chairman of Cobra Beer, Karan is a member of the Government’s National Employment Panel and served as Chairman of the Panel’s Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Board from 2001 to 2005. He is the Vice Chairman of the London Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Bank of England – LCCI / Asian Business Association Panel. Karan is also an Honorary Life Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

He is a guest lecturer at Cranfield University School of Management, the Cambridge University Business School and the London Business School, and a Visiting Entrepreneur at the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at Cambridge University – one of the first to ever be appointed. Karen was also the former Chancellor of Thames Valley University, a positon which saw him become the youngest university Chancellor in the UK.

In 2004 Karan was awarded the Commander of the British Empire in Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Some other honours received include the Award for Outstanding Achievement 2005 by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Business Person of the Year 2004 by the London Business Awards and London Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003 by Ernst & Young, established as the most prestigious business award in more than 35 nations worldwide.

Karan directly supports a number of charities and is a Patron of both the Thare Mache Starfish Initiative and Rethink Mental Illness, Vice Patron of the Memorial Gates Trust and Chairman of the advisory board of the Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba Memorial Trust for education of the children of poor widows in India.

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Decision Making
Performing under pressure

Bottled for Business: The Less Gassy Guide to Entrepreneurship

So what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? There are many different answers, but according to Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer, do the following and you won′t go far wrong: be creative, go the extra mile, have confidence in yourself and your team, get lucky, be disciplined, take the long–term view, learn constantly and don′t be afraid of serious amounts of hard work. Bottled for Business gets to the heart of how and why Cobra Beer has developed into one of the world′s best–loved brands...

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Against the Grain: Lessons in Entrepreneurship from the Founder of Cobra Beer: Karan Bilimoria's Guide to Brewing a Successful Business

Starting out with a heap of student debt, a complete lack of industry experience and parents desperate for their son to get a proper job, it could all so easily have gone wrong. But Karan's single-minded determination to succeed and his ability to inspire those around him to buy into his vision, turned Cobra, sip-by-sip, into the multi-million pound business it is today...

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