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‘Communication can break barriers’ - Suffolk’s diverse business community celebrate success

PUBLISHED: 13:40 29 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:40 29 October 2018

Suffolk BME Awards 2018

Copyright Anglia Picture Agency
Winners, sponsors, organisers and some of the shortlisted finalists at the 2018 Suffolk BME Business Awards.

Suffolk BME Awards 2018 Copyright Anglia Picture Agency Winners, sponsors, organisers and some of the shortlisted finalists at the 2018 Suffolk BME Business Awards.

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.

Suffolk BME Awards 2018

Ipswich Reggae Choir performed at the BME Business Awards finals night at the University of Suffolk


Picture: ANGLIA PICTURE AGENCYSuffolk BME Awards 2018 Ipswich Reggae Choir performed at the BME Business Awards finals night at the University of Suffolk Picture: ANGLIA PICTURE AGENCY

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.”

Italian-born Dr Marina Dixon received the Judges Special Award and made a plea for language teaching.

Suffolk BME Awards 2018

Copyright Anglia Picture Agency

EADT and Ipswich Star editor Brad Jones addresses the audienceSuffolk BME Awards 2018 Copyright Anglia Picture Agency EADT and Ipswich Star editor Brad Jones addresses the audience

She said: “We need languages and good communication. Communication can break barriers. That is what we need in the world more than anything else.”

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.”

Suffolk BME Awards 2018

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Kerseys partner Thara Thangavel, the finals night sponsor, addresses the audience.Suffolk BME Awards 2018 Copyright Anglia Picture Agency Kerseys partner Thara Thangavel, the finals night sponsor, addresses the audience.

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

Suffolk BME Awards 2018


Business of the Year winner, Dr Amit Patel and his team from Ipswich Spine Clinic receive the award from Paul Simon of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

Picture: ANGLIA PICTURE AGENCYSuffolk BME Awards 2018 Business of the Year winner, Dr Amit Patel and his team from Ipswich Spine Clinic receive the award from Paul Simon of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Picture: ANGLIA PICTURE AGENCY

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)

Suffolk BME Awards 2018  
 Business of the Year (Catering) Coffeelink receives the award from David Ellesmere of Ipswich Borough Council, Azzouz and Rebecca El-Mahraoui are pictured with their children Adam, Elias and Zara and Azzouz's brother Hakim who works with them in the business.

Picture: ANGLIA PICTURE AGENCYSuffolk BME Awards 2018 Business of the Year (Catering) Coffeelink receives the award from David Ellesmere of Ipswich Borough Council, Azzouz and Rebecca El-Mahraoui are pictured with their children Adam, Elias and Zara and Azzouz's brother Hakim who works with them in the business. Picture: ANGLIA PICTURE AGENCY

Brandon Tandori; Coffeelink Ltd, Ipswich; Eastern Spice, Ipswich; Newmarket Kebab House; The Curry Inn, Needham Market

Winner: Coffeelink

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

Suffolk BME Awards 2018


Business Person of the Year. Rofu Miah of 405 Cab Co receives his award from Mac Khan of Westerfield House

Picture: ANGLIA PICTURE AGENCYSuffolk BME Awards 2018 Business Person of the Year. Rofu Miah of 405 Cab Co receives his award from Mac Khan of Westerfield House Picture: ANGLIA PICTURE AGENCY

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

Suffolk BME Awards 2018

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Start-up/New Business Award, Adib Mahmudi of Your Local Best receives his award from the Mayor of Ipswich Jane Riley and the Mayor of Felixstowe Graham Newman.Suffolk BME Awards 2018 Copyright Anglia Picture Agency Start-up/New Business Award, Adib Mahmudi of Your Local Best receives his award from the Mayor of Ipswich Jane Riley and the Mayor of Felixstowe Graham Newman.

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

Suffolk BME Awards 2018

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Community Business of the Year. Tirlochan Singh of Raja Stores with his son Jaspall Singh, receives his award from Ian Twinley of sponsors John Grose.Suffolk BME Awards 2018 Copyright Anglia Picture Agency Community Business of the Year. Tirlochan Singh of Raja Stores with his son Jaspall Singh, receives his award from Ian Twinley of sponsors John Grose.

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

Mehmet and Selda Kolagasioglu are owners of Mahzen, Ipswch.
Selda was announced as Woman Entrepreneur of the Year at the Suffolk BME Business Awards 2018, on Wednesday, but was unable to be present for the ceremony.
Pictuere: SU ANDERSONMehmet and Selda Kolagasioglu are owners of Mahzen, Ipswch. Selda was announced as Woman Entrepreneur of the Year at the Suffolk BME Business Awards 2018, on Wednesday, but was unable to be present for the ceremony. Pictuere: SU ANDERSON

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

Suffolk BME Awards 2018

Copyright Anglia Picture Agency

Charity of the Year, the East Anglian Russian and International Cultural Society, based in Ipswich. Galina Oya and Vladimir Filiminov receive the award from Suffolk Community Foundation's head of grants Andrea Pittock.Suffolk BME Awards 2018 Copyright Anglia Picture Agency Charity of the Year, the East Anglian Russian and International Cultural Society, based in Ipswich. Galina Oya and Vladimir Filiminov receive the award from Suffolk Community Foundation's head of grants Andrea Pittock.

Judges’ Special Award

ADM Associates; Ipswich Reggae Choir; MD Languages Academy; Re-Shape (fitness); Your Life In Your Hands

Winner: MD Languages Academy

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