Reuben Singh, (born 20 September 1976, Manchester, England), is a British entrepreneur, most famous for his Miss Attitude and alldaypa companies, and more recently for controversy surrounding his wealth and dealings.
Reuben Singh was born into a wealthy family who ran a large Manchester wholesaler, Sabco, and had business interests in Canada. They came to England in the 1970s and had a family home in Poynton, an affluent village in Cheshire.
His first business, Miss Attitude, was a shop which sold girl's accessories (such as hair clips, cosmetics, etc) which opened in 1995 in the Manchester Arndale Centre.
Almost overnight, dozens of stores opened up across the UK, and within a short space of time there were hundreds. He started to appear in the press with stories of this success. Early reports cited his wealth at around £10 million, all this while he was studying for his A-Levels at William Hulme's Grammar School in Manchester.
In 1999, Miss Attitude was sold for a reported sum of £22 million pounds, bringing his wealth to around £45 million. The buyer later claimed that the actual sum was just £1 (see Financial Troubles).
In 1999, he launched the website and brand alldaypa.com, a 24-hour virtual PA / secretary service. Described as A FREE fully-functioning, global 24-hour virtual office , incoming calls are routed to the alldaypa call centre giving the impression that they are part of the customer's business. Other features include online hosting and administration facilities.
He regularly appeared in printed media and on television, and was hailed by many as the British Bill Gates. He enjoyed the comparison, and stated in interviews that he aimed to beat Bill Gate's record by becoming the world's youngest self-made billionaire by the time he is 30 (although this was not achieved by September 2006 when he turned 30).
His entry in the 1998 Guinness Book of Records as the world's youngest self-made millionaire (the entry was subsequently disqualified) helped, as did featuring in various rich lists such as The Sunday Times, and Fortune.
He made many television appearances for programmes such as BBC Hardtalk and the Esther Rantzen show, and offered his services as a motivational guest speaker to give talks on how to be a success.
He was invited by Prime Minister Tony Blair onto a DTI advisory panel on small business and competitiveness. Alongside Sir Alan Sugar and Sir Richard Branson he was appointed one of the five UK ambassadors for entrepreneurship.
His portrait was included in the UK National Portrait Gallery, which houses portraits of historically important and famous British people.
He also won many awards for his business and entrepreneurship, such as the National Business Awards 2002 , Microsoft New Business of the Year 2002, The Times 500 "Most Powerful under 30-year old in Britain", Times 500 Most Powerful Individuals as "Most Powerful under 30-year old in Britain".
In 2002, an article in the Manchester Evening News - followed a few days later by an article in the Financial Mail - contained damning information regarding his business ventures. The articles called him little more than a fantasist and that his wealth and business success was considerably less than he claimed. It also revealed that the buyer of Miss Attitude, American financier Gary Klesch, claimed to have bought the debt-laden business for £1.
Singh himself told the Financial Times' Sathnam Sanghera that "these stories are just rumours based on jealousy and are a total misrepresentation", adding that a confidentiality clause prohibited him from discussing the matter.
Since then, he has suffered somewhat of a backlash from the media. It is perhaps ironic that it was the Manchester Evening News who were the first to turn on him, the same paper that had printed various positive stories in the past. They alleged that he had used the press to his advantage, using inaccurate reports about his business prowess to further inflate his reputation as a successful entrepreneur.
His ability to gain a position on a Government advisory panel without any prior checks, led MP Graham Stringer to call for tighter regulations for the appointment of these roles.
alldaypa.com was largely a failure and suffered huge financial losses. The company was bailed out by his parents who bought the company and called in administrators to try and turn the company around. They reduced his role from director to consultant.
Further problems arose in relation to a multimillion pound overdraft. He was recently sued by the Royal Bank of Scotland, with judge Michael Kershaw QC ordering Singh to pay the bank £1,229,966 for an overdraft they claimed was secured under false pretenses, and their legal costs. The judge commented that ""(The banker) was, I think, to some extent a victim of Mr Singh's personality as well as Mr Singh's lies."
He owns the only banana-yellow Bentley Continental in the world, which reportedly cost £270,000.
He is a devout follower of the Sikh faith and is notable for his turban and beard.
A 25-year-old British Sikh, Reuben Singh, is the youngest person on a list of the world's 40 richest persons under the age of 40.
“No one backed me or invested in me when I was starting out... If Reuben Singh at 17 had found the Reuben Singh of today, imagine how that could have helped me.