Dentist, Award Winning Entrepreneur, Business Strategist and Investor.
Neil qualified in 1987 from Leeds University as a general dentist and has spent most of his career working in the private sector in central London. Today he provides treatment to a loyal group of patients at a reputable and long established practice in Moorgate in the heart of London’s financial district.
Neil opened Barbican Dental Care (BDC) in 1992, providing dentistry on the doorstep of busy city workers. From a single chair in the Barbican, he grew the business to 10 practices in central London with a team of 90 loyal staff. Creating a culture of excellence and providing the highest quality patient care was crucial to the success of the business. Neil is very proud of the fact that in 25 years associate retention stood at 94%.
Neil’s story began in 1990 when he was working in a small NHS practice in the heart of London’s East End, Bethnal Green, in a room so small (9ft by 6ft) that patients had to enter by saloon doors! Neil’s passion for dentistry remained and his entrepreneurial side began to ask him the question – what next?!
One day, when leaving his micro sized dental room after a long day treating patient after patient, Neil spotted something in the distance which was to change his world, the towers of Canary Wharf being built in the skyline. It was this moment that shaped his career for the next 25 years.
Looking up at the towers, Neil realised that there would be thousands of employees working in this new business hub, all of whom would need a dentist. By setting up next door to their offices and creating cost effective dental plans for employees, companies could save thousands of hours normally lost visiting the dentist and employees would receive quality private treatment at a fraction of the normal cost.
At this point in time private dentistry was considered a luxury and a little elitist. Neil planned to break the mould. With a passion for providing the quality service, and a plan to deliver this in a convenient location, Neil was to be the first to provide truly affordable dental solutions to London city workers.
By 2014, through organic growth and no acquisitions, BDC had 10 sites, treating over 50,000 patients a year and welcoming over 500 new private patients every month.
Neil and his team won a number of awards for developing this unique model.
This “integrated” approach, offering a product to companies and providing the service at local dental practices proved very attractive to Bupa which acquired the business in 2014.
“The Business Excellence Award was sponsored by Barclays and judges were looking for a strong track record in overall business performance and effectiveness, including sales and profitability, staff involvement and dedication and examples of business excellence in services and/or products. Barbican Dental Care Won The Business Excellence Award in 2003 for their unique approach to dentistry.” British Dental Journal 2003.
As a proud father of three, Neil enjoys running a regular weekend taxi service and teenage bank, and spends much of his spare time supporting his children with their sports and hobbies! When he has time to himself Neil enjoys Golf, Real Tennis (look it up!), fine wine, fossil hunting and playing the violin in The Brent Symphony Orchestra.
Neil is a firm believer in giving back to the community and has been fortunate enough to become involved in many projects over the years that have helped him do this. Neil has sponsored a dental carriage on the world’s first hospital train, The Lifeline Express. In addition, Neil is a business mentor for the Prince’s trust, a panel member of the government Trailblazers project for dental apprentices and a supporter of the Bupa UK Foundation.
“We would like to thank you all for your support during 2005, helping us to bring the work to this stage. We are happy to inform that we have been able to start the dental centre to our existing facilities, which was opened on 25th Jan 2006 at the hands of Mayor of Gwalior in presence of many volunteers and local dignitaries including Dr. Neil Sikka, the dentist from London who has contributed with majority of required funds as sponsor and instrumental to initiate these services.” Gwalior Hospital, 2005.
In 2014 Neil’s business Barbican Dental Care was successfully acquired by Bupa, with both companies having a focus on quality private care there was a natural fit. Neil has used his experience providing dental care to companies to support the strategic development of Bupa dental insurance products. As a practicing dentist, he understands how these products should be designed and implemented for the benefit of employers, employees, dentists and their teams to ensure a seamless journey for the patient.
“The Company’s ambitious business plan and expansion strategy make it a very attractive prospect for Bupa and I am sure the partnership will help Barbican Dental Care enhance its growth prospects.” Startups.co.uk 2014