Celebrating Suffolk’s minority entrepreneurs

Sponsors, organisers and judges at the ;aunch of the BME Business Awards 2019 at the University of S

Sponsors, organisers and judges at the ;aunch of the BME Business Awards 2019 at the University of Suffolk. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The rich cultural diversity of Suffolk is to be celebrated at Suffolk’s BME Business Awards.

This year's awards, designed to shine an light of entrepreneurs from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, were launched this week at the University of Suffolk.

Organiser Mohammed Alam, of the BSC Centre - which helped to organise the awards with the university - said: "We want it to be bigger and better this year.

"It is growing each year. Last year we had 115 entries and they represented 31 different communities.

"We are looking across the whole of Suffolk, not just Ipswich. There is a wide diversity in the business community and each year we attract more to the awards.

"We would like to hear your nominations."

The fourth year of the awards marks a landmark for the Bangladeshi Support Centre, which has grown way beyond its original roots over the past 20 years.

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Now it provides support for many ethnic groups and has a new name, BSC Multicultural Services.

Manager Mojlum Khan said: "We are changing the name because over 20 years we have worked with 50 different nationalities."

The awards range from start-ups to well-established established businesses in a wide range of sectors.

Among the winners last year was the Ipswich Spine Clinic, run by Dr Amit Patel, which as chosen as business of the year.

He said: "I was very pleased and surprised when we won.

"I think it is really important. It is a great way of increasing awareness of all the ethnic groups.

"They are really well run and organised and it is such an important thing for the community as a whole to support."

There is a new award this time, Health Champion of the Year, sponsored by Healthwatch Suffolk.

Bal Howard, a trustee of Healthwatch Suffolk, was a personal winner of the Judges Special Award in 2016.

She said: "These awards are vital. They celebrate the diversity in the BME community across the town and in the county really.

"It is even more important now, especially with Brexit."

The awards ceremony will take place in October.

Entry forms are available from the BSC Centre in Tower Street, Ipswich or online at www.uos.ac.uk/business or www.bscsuffolk.org.uk

BME Awards 2019 categories

Business of the Year (catering)

Start-up/New Business

Female Entrepreneur

Health Champion

Business Person of the Year

Community Business

Charity of the Year

Judges' Special Award

Business of the Year