‘Communication can break barriers’ - Suffolk’s diverse business community celebrate success
- Credit: Ashley Pickering/Anglia Picture Agency
Diversity was the toast as the business community of Suffolk came together to recognise and celebrate the contribution of black and minority people in commerce.
The Suffolk BME Business Awards took place at the University of Suffolk and was attended by dozens of Suffolk and Ipswich business people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds, along with sponsors and guests.
The awards are organised by the Bangladeshi Support Centre and the business school at the University of Suffolk.
Business Person of the Year was Rofu Miah of Ipswich-based 405 Cab Co.
He said: “I am really pleased. I started on my own six years ago. Now we have over 140 (freelance) drivers, and we work in Suffolk and across the country.”
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Italian-born Dr Marina Dixon received the Judges Special Award and made a plea for language teaching.
She said: “We need languages and good communication. Communication can break barriers. That is what we need in the world more than anything else.”
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There were two mayors, the leaders of Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council and sponsors, including law firm Kerseys in the audience.
Mayor of Ipswich Jane Riley said: “I think it is really good to have recognition of all the efforts that people put in. It is hard work running a business.”
There were entries from across Suffolk, from Newmarket to Felixstowe and Lowestoft to Sudbury, representing people with more than 30 different ethnic backgrounds who have made their lives and grown businesses here.
David Ellesmere leader of Ipswich Borough Council said: “Small businesses are a big part of the economy. It is important to have a showcase like this so we can share success. People like this can inspire others to achieve as well.”
Brad Jones, editor of the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, said: “These awards are very important for Suffolk.
“It is a diverse community and it is important to celebrate entrepreneurship, the business ambition and talent, and the success in it.”
Categories and shortlisted entries from across Suffolk
Business of the Year
Alamin (wholesaler); Carlton Hotel, Ipswich; Ebony & Ivory salon, Ipswich; Halal Connection, Ipswich; Ipswich Spine Clinic
Winner; Ipswich Spine Clinic
Business of the Year (Catering)
Brandon Tandori; Coffeelink Ltd, Ipswich; Eastern Spice, Ipswich; Newmarket Kebab House; The Curry Inn, Needham Market
Business Person of the Year
Bayram Karabulut, BellaNapoli, Ipswich; Johnny Hussain, BlueNaan, Felixstowe; Mosahid Ali, SquarePharmacy, Ipswich; Ray Phagura Nacton RoadFish Bar, Ipswich; Rofu Miah, 405 Cab Co, Ipswich
Winner: Rofu Miah
New Business of the Year
ABC Connect (handyman) Ipswich; Ipswich Bagel Company; Syrian Falafel, Ipswich; Your Local Best, Ipswich; Zaynab Restaurant, Capel St Mary
Winner: Your Local Best
Community Business of the Year
AA Motor Medic, Ipswich; Indian Village, Ipswich; M & M Pharmacy, Ipswich; Radius Computing, Ipswich; Raja Stores,Ipswich
Winner: Raja Stores
Woman Entrepreneur of the Year
Margaret Willcott, Hydrojetz, Ipswich; Mio Vong, 1st Choice Oriental Takeaway, Ipswich; Monica Lima, Portoccino, Ipswich; Remi Morrision, Cactus Media, Ipswich; Selda Kolagasioglu, Mahzen, Ipswich
Winner: Selda Kolagasiouglu
Charity of the Year
Bangladeshi Forum Waveney; Carribean and African Community Health Forum; East Anglia Russian International Cultural Society; Karibu African Women’s Support; PHOEBE
Winner: East Anglia Russian International Cultural Society
Judges’ Special Award
ADM Associates; Ipswich Reggae Choir; MD Languages Academy; Re-Shape (fitness); Your Life In Your Hands
Winner: MD Languages Academy