Region's Rich Diversity Celebrated At Awards

Issue 40

The diverse and inclusive contribution of the North-East's Asian community to the region's economic and business success was recently celebrated at a glittering and colourful awards ceremony.

The 9th Asian Business Connexions (ABC) Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony (in association with Gainford Group) took place at The County Hotel in Newcastle with headline speaker, Nusrat Ghani MP, the Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Transport addressing the sold-out event.

The event was organised by ABC, a Not for Profit Social Enterprise which next year will celebrate a decade of connecting, supporting and promoting the Asian and wider community throughout the North-East. The awards event featured success stories from all across the region focussing on diversity and inclusion with an emphasis on the growing role and contribution of Asian females in business.

Host for the evening, Ammar Mirza CBE, serial entrepreneur and founder of the event’s charity recipients, the PIE Project (Primary Inspiration through Enterprise) said: “This has been a wonderful celebration that clearly shows the rich diversity and talent that we have in our region. I am particularly proud of the fact that we have featured so many successful Asian females which clearly demonstrates how we embrace and cherish equality. From business, to arts and culture and through to the public and professional sectors our female finalists have certainly done the whole community proud through their ambitions and aspirational attitude.

“Our headline speaker, Nusrat Ghani MP is a great role model to us all. A Muslim female Minister of Pakistani descent, she has demonstrated that regardless of your background, our country provides everyone the opportunity to thrive through hard work and determination.”

Other highlights of the celebratory evening included a speech by Mr S.M Chakraborty from the Indian High Commission whose work with ABC to encourage bi-lateral trade links with India has already started to make a significant impact within the region.

Mandeep Kaur (Sikh Chaplain for the Armed Forces) and Major Naveed Muhammad MBE explained how the Armed Forces are now an inclusive and forward-thinking organisation that recognises the importance of diversity in an ever-changing world. Closer to home, the Federation of Asian Business (FAB) made up of North East, North West and Yorkshire Asian Business Associations highlighted their ongoing work representing the whole of the Northern Powerhouse.

A lifetime achievement award sponsored by The Gainsford Group was presented to Shahda Khan MBE, Strategic Cohesion & Migration Manager at Middlesbrough Council for her work which has benefited the community particularly within the fields of diversity, inclusion and equality.

Summing up a very successful awards celebration Mr Mirza said: “The role of ABC is to connect and support all Asian businesses and others wanting to engage with them, locally, nationally and internationally. Our awards have highlighted the significant contributions which we as the Asian community continue to make. We don’t do this in isolation however but through integration, understanding anda true partnership working. This is shown once again by the tremendous support we’ve received from our partners and stakeholders’ who have come together to help us celebrate this success.”

Keynote speaker, Nusrat Ghani MP was delighted to support the North East and Asian Business Connexions by attending the celebration event.

“Newcastle was buzzing at the Asian Business Connexions awards for Asian trailblazers in the North-East. Thank you for allowing me to give the keynote speech at your celebrations,” she said, “I was very impressed by what I discovered on the night.

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