Who is Anthony Wade and what makes the story of his experiences different or unique from those of the tens of thousands of persons who have migrated from the Caribbean to Britain? Wade’s odyssey from the idyllic and unchallenging setting of his homeland of Montserrat in the 1950s to a cold, unfamiliar and racially hostile England is a familiar story among Caribbean migrants of his and later generations.
Not so familiar is the intriguing story of how he established the most successful black enterprise in Britain at a time when it was difficult to obtain business financing, penetrate the market for hair and beauty products and gain acceptance in an environment hostile to non-white immigrants. Wade overcame all these obstacles – and more, including the near collapse of his company Dyke and Dryden, following a change in majority ownership – to become one of Britain’s first black multi-million pound company and mentor an entire generation of black entrepreneurs.
Wade’s story is not only about how he achieved phenomenal business success or about the relentless pursuit of personal wealth; it is also one of involvement in community affairs and leadership of a diverse range of business and community development organizations. In this role he opened up new avenues for self-employment, greater job opportunities and improvement in the quality of life for countless numbers of Afro-Caribbean people. The most striking example of Wade’s civic-minded career was his leadership of the Stonebridge Housing Action Trust which today stands as one of the most successful community redevelopment projects in the entire UK.
Written in an engaging and at times, amusing style, Wade is not shy in revealing intimate details of his personal life. A romantic at heart, he introduces readers to his three beautiful wives, Daphne, Rosalyn and Vasantha and writes about the joys of raising three children.
The story of Wade’s ‘Adventures’ provides an important lesson for young black entrepreneurs. IT teaches that success come from not who you are but from the ability to remain focused in pursuing objectives, and perseverance in complex times, while maintaining integrity and honesty in business practices and in our personal lives.
Anthony Wade now enjoys a life of quiet retirement with Vasantha in Jamaica but still finds time for community involvement and his latest passion, writing.