Businessman and entrepreneur Sanjay Shah was born in London in 1970, the child of Kenyan immigrants. Sanjay Shah Denmark attended King’s College studying medicine before realizing his niche was in business. He did his time at 9-to-5 desk jobs for top banking firms such as Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley until 2009 when he started his own brokerage business. Five years later, his net worth exceeded $280 million and his company, Solo Capital, had offices in London and Dubai, where Shah moved his family so that he could devote time and money to philanthropic ventures.
In 2011, his two-year-old son Nikhil was diagnosed with autism. Like many autism parents, Shah’s first instinct was to support the autism community and learn what he could about how to cope with autism. He had the rare luxury of being able to afford therapy that would help Nikhil develop more quickly, but a visit to the Dubai Autism Center showed Shah and his family how dire was the case for many other families. Nikhil himself would have been on a five-year waiting list for his therapy if Shah had not been able to pay. He grew concerned that other families who could not afford therapy would not see their children develop, so he approached the Dubai Autism Center asking them what he could do.
After purchasing new minibuses for the DAC, Shah saw an opportunity to make an even bigger difference. After coordinating with Done Events, a Dubai-based event organizer, he held a charity jazz concert attended by a few thousand guests. Soon after, Done Events put him in touch with Prince, and Autism Rocks was born. Founded in 2014, Autism Rocks is an annual charity concert event to raise awareness of autism, and has already raised over£600,000 for autism research and besides Prince, has also featured artists like Michael Buble, Lenny Kravitz and Drake. This year’s event included rappers Flo Rida and Tyga in a successful attempt to spread the message of autism awareness to a younger demographic. The family-friendly event also features games like laser tag, zip lining, a bounce castle, horseback rides, face painting, and a petting zoo.
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