A diverse range of businesses people are honoured from many ethnic groups

The winners, sponsors and judges
Photo: Ashley Pickering

The winners, sponsors and judges Photo: Ashley Pickering - Credit: Archant

A special celebration for Suffolk’s thriving BME business community with awards night at the University of Suffolk.

Nurjahan Begun (Roshida) and husband Foyjul Islam with Professor Mohammed Dastbaz

Nurjahan Begun (Roshida) and husband Foyjul Islam with Professor Mohammed Dastbaz

The second annual Suffolk BME Business Awards were celebrated at a multi-cultural presentation night hosted by the University of Suffolk in its Waterfront building, in Ipswich.

It was a night to celebrate business excellence and achievement, of economic growth and employmen, but most of all it was about celebrating community cohesion, friendship and mutual support.

These special awards highlight many of the unsung heroes of the BME - black and minority ethnic - communities to the local economy in Ipswich and Suffolk, and to understanding and friendship.

Nurul Hoque of Haverhill Electrical Supplies presents the award to Kashwi Shahid with her father Sha

Nurul Hoque of Haverhill Electrical Supplies presents the award to Kashwi Shahid with her father Shahid Ahmed.

As one of the winners, Zeaur Rahman said: “It is about community. We support each other. I use these other businesses, and they come to me.”


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The special awards are organised by the BSC, the Bangladeshi Support Centre with the Businesss School at the University of Suffolk, and supported by the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, and with other local sponsors.

Guests included two mayors, Sarah Barber of Ipswich and Nick Barber from Felixstowe, and Tim Passmore the Police and Crimer Commissioner for Suffolk, who also presented an award.

Zeaur Rahman of Baba Z, with his wife Saima, gets the award from sponsor Mac Khan

Zeaur Rahman of Baba Z, with his wife Saima, gets the award from sponsor Mac Khan

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Boshor Ali, chair of the BSC said: “This is a celebration of all BME businesses in Suffolk, and their contribution to the economy and employment.”

“We have winners from all over Suffolk and a wide range of ethnic groups represented.”

There were a larger number of entries this year, he said.

Lydia Tse receives the award from Stephen Singleton

Lydia Tse receives the award from Stephen Singleton

They included bangladeshis and afro-carribeans, turkish and portuguese, kurdish, thai and chinese businesses, many of them shortlisted.

The winners were:

Start-up/New Business

The Sheesh - Abdullah Gokteke receives the award from Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore

The Sheesh - Abdullah Gokteke receives the award from Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore

The Sheesh restaurant,Bury St Edmunds.

It opened just eight months ago, offering traditional cooked food over a charcoal grill.

Owner Abdullah Gokteke said: “I am very excited. I am very proud of myself and my business,”

Inayat Kalam receives the award from Paul Simon of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

Inayat Kalam receives the award from Paul Simon of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

Community Business

Delta Pharmacy, Ipswich, which has been in the same ownership for more than 30 years.

Owner Umesh Patel said: “I am pleased to be serving the third generation of some of my customers in my community.”

Charity of the Year

Anglo-Chinese Cultural Exchange

Organiser Lydia Tse said the organisation, which works from school age through the elderly, “I am very proud of my team. We have a special ten year celebration next year.”

Business Person of the Year

Zeaur Rahman of Baba-Z barbers, Foxhall Road, Ipswich.

He said: “I started from my mum’s bathroom in Alderman Road, and it has grown and developed over 18 years. It is a traditional business but we have an app for real-time queuing - for customers wherever they are.”

Woman Entrepreneur of the Year

Kashwi Shahid, of Zaika Indian Cuisine, Ipswich.

She said: “There is no limit to what you can achieve if you think positive.”

Business of the Year - Kaspa’s Desserts - M Inayat Kalam.

Inayat Kalam paid tribute to the local support since he opened his desserts restaurant in March 2016.

“There is something about this town that is very friendly. You don’t get that in London. I have really come to love Ipswich.”

Judges’ Special Award - Nurjuhan (Roshida) Begum of Zahraa Professional Tailoring.

She thanked her loyal customers and her husband Foyjul Islam.

Professor Mohammed Dastbaz, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the university, said: “She is a respected local tailoring business who has worked hard to make Ipswich a better place to live.”

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