‘Contribution to British Society is a key requirement for Business’ awards evening are told
‘With a rapidly changing economic and social environment, businesses have to play a key role in shaping the future. The British Asian community is no longer the new migrant community. The British Asian community is a mature community actively supporting all facets of British life which they now call home’.
This was the request forwarded by Baroness Usha Parshar CBE of Runneymede.
Speaking at the Black Country Asian Business Association Awards, she argued that Business now had to place an equally important emphasis on corporate social responsibility as it does on generating profits. She acknowledged the sacrifices that earlier generations had made but argued that there was the potential for asian businesses to make an even more inedible mark on British society.
She wanted to promote good citizenship, integrity, sacrifice and build resilience against the ‘on the make’ culture. Businesses need to be encouraged to have the courage and capacity to celebrate compassion and generosity of the spirit, as well as wealth, prestige and popularity.
As newly appointed President of the National Asian Business Association, she was touring the UK and was pleased to see the vibrancy of asian businesses outside of London and was particularly so, of the Black Country.
The Baroness added that despite being the heartland of manufacturing, she was impressed by the variety of sectors being represented at the Awards. She was equally impressed by the younger entrepreneurs who were bringing in a fresh perspective of business.
Praising BCABA for its ‘vital role’ in supporting Asian entrepreneurs, she highlighted the need for passion in business but, more importantly, for business leaders to be passionate about their contribution to society.
Following the event, she added: “The West Midlands is brimming with business talent, and the Black Country Asian Business Association plays an essential role in helping local businesses reach their full potential. It was an honour for me to explore the opportunities that lie ahead for asian businesses to contribute to the great country we call home.
She also added ‘I like to quote Mahatma Ghandi – ‘we must be the change we want to see’ and argued that British business had the ability to make the difference and to shift the paradigm for the next generation.
The main beneficiary of the Awards evening was Walsall’s Perfection Foods who swept away with the International Award and the Innovation and Enterprise Awards.
Operating from three sites, the business has grown rapidly in ten years and is now exporting its cakes all over the world. With year on year growth of 40 %, the business is looking to increase investment in both capital and people.
Other winners were:
Business Start Up: AIB foods
Young Entrepreneur: Aman Bhandal of Chop and Wok
Community Excellence: Sweda
Regeneration: CBS Packaging
Business Person of the Year: Ravinder Singh Cheema
Ninder Johal, chair of the BCABA, which takes in 2,750 businesses, said: “Despite everything it is reassuring to see that the Asian business community is still thriving.”
He outlined the partnerships BCABA has developed with the Black Country LEP and local authorities, and connections to the Manufacturing Advisory Service (WM), The Black Country Chamber of Commerce and UK Trade & Investment in finding ways of acting as a conduit. He also spoke about the support that was needed for the local Birmingham Airport and its strategic importance to the Black Country.
Despite the gloom surrounding the economic environment, The Black Country had much to be proud of. Mr Johal who is also a Board member of the Black Country LEP, cited examples of improving education, transport and planning conditions for those involved in Business and the considerable progress that the Black Country LEP had made in the short time of its existance.
In his speech Mr Johal also highlighted the need for the region to be recognised for its many features including a skilled workforce and attractiveness for inward investment.
The Chair of the Black Country LEP Stewart Towe CBE, spoke about the need for business to grasp the opportunities available and explained how the LEP was encouraging innovation and access to finance.
Around 400 attended the awards dinner held at the Wolverhampton Racecourse marking the 11th anniversary of BCABA.
Sponsors included KTC (Edibles) UK Ltd, Wolverhampton University, Walsall Council, Wolverhampton Council, Citreon Autobase, Johal Catering and The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership.
Cure Leukaemia was the charity on the night. Host for the evening was Tommy Sandhu, a BBC presenter and entertainment was provided by bhangra band Achanak.