Four UCL Undergraduates became ambassadors for the UKBCCI. They were introduced to influential business guests at a UKBCCI meeting in London, January 2015.
Winning a prestigious award is no mean feat in itself, but UKBCCI Director Farzana Hossain Neela went further by being awarded by Prime Minister David Cameron at the recent British Bangladeshi Business Awards 2015.
The category awarded was the highly coveted Best Business Woman Entrepreneur
In front of an array of the crème de la crème of the British Bangladeshi business community, Neela, who is the Managing Director of Neela’s Home Ltd, which successfully imports spices into the UK from Bangladesh, was handed the award by the Prime Minister, who then proceeded to speak to her on stage.
“The funny thing is,” said Neela, “I was originally told that it would be the Deputy Prime Minister who would be presenting me the award. But when I realised it was the Prime Minister himself, I immediately started shaking because I never could have imagined I would be presented such an award by the top man in the country. It was the best gift of my life!”
Neela added: “Mr Cameron asked me how many employees I had and a few other quick questions as I received the award. It’s such a lovely validation of my business I feel and what it does is that it also makes me want to go further and keep on improving and expanding my business.”
A highly experienced and renowned restaurateur and entrepreneur, UKBCCI Director Oli Khan, has been awarded a major award in the Curry Life Awards, scooping the best achiever in business and community relations.
Khan, who is the managing director of such successful outlets as the Surma Takeaway and the Spice Rouge restaurant in Stevenage Old Town, said he was elated beyond words and took the award win as an “endorsement of his restaurant and his business acumen”.
He added: “Winning the award means a lot to me. I’ve been in the business for 26 years and getting any kind of accolade is not only very encouraging, but it says that the public are recognising you for all the hard work you have done. “
With his parents having been in the restaurant sector since 1962, Khan branched out on his own at the tender age of 17, but it wasn’t till 2002 when he launched Surma that he truly found success, which continues to this day.
“I realised a long time ago,” says Khan, “that despite trying to succeed early on, you don’t become a hit overnight. You have to slog it out and if you don’t make a go of it the first time, keep on trying. Be honest, be single-minded, constructive and passionate, and you’ll go far!”
The UKBCCI North West Networking and New Year Celebration event – 8th January 2015
Vermilion & Cinnabar restaurant, Manchester.
The newly established UKBCCI (United Kingdom Bangladesh Catalyst of Commerce and Industry held a successful networking and New Year celebration event on 8th January 2015. The venue for this event was the renowned Abacus room located in the Vermilion & Cinnabar restaurant, owned by the UKBCCI Chairman Iqbal Ahmed OBE, situated in the vibrant and commercially nascent east district of Manchester.
This event attracted over 100 hundred business and community leaders from all over the country including both national and internationally recognised figures. Chairman, Iqbal Ahmed OBE begun proceedings with a warm welcome and highlighted the opportunities, benefits and business potential that an alliance between the UK and Bangladesh could yield. A strong point reiterated by Iqbal Ahmed OBE was for NRB’s (Non-Resident Bangladeshi’s) to visit their homeland and embrace their roots.
The UKBCCI Road Show became the platform for several speakers. Mujahid Khan, recognised by both the UK Monarchy and Government, gave an insight into the tourism opportunities that await in Bangladesh with cycling given a particular emphasis. A short video of ‘Tour de Sylhet’ displayed an arduous journey set among beautiful countryside. Bangladesh was described as “a land of opportunity” by Mujahid Khan and his speech to the captivated audience gave that impression. President of the UKBCCI Bajloor Rashid MBE gave a brief history into creation of the organisation and explained how he felt there was a high demand for such services. Bajloor Rashid MBE felt that the road show should be taken across both the UK and Europe. Bajloor concluded his speech with an appeal to the local Bangladeshi community to explore investment in their homeland and build an economic bridge between the nations.
Rapturous applause greeted the arrival of Kabir Ahmed MBE JP DL to the rostrum. Kabir Ahmed MBE gave a very personal account recalling his own experiences in both the UK and Bangladesh. Praising the efforts of all the people involved in the UKBCCI was high on the agenda for Kabir Ahmed MBE and this was further supported by his sustained backing of the UKBCCI. Recently elected Chairman of the GMBA Nasir Wahab was pleased to represent the GMBA and the people of the community at this networking and New Year celebration. Nasir gave thanks to the two countries and was in full support of the UKBCCI to connect the countries for future generations to come.
A new resident to Manchester, Ferdousi Shahriar, Assistant High Commissioner gave a compelling speech on the economy of Bangladesh and how it was supported by a strong UK economy. Ferdousi Shahriar explained how the Bangladeshi economy had displayed a 6% growth in the last few years. Since independence was achieved 42 years ago, Bangladesh has become a viably sound investment opportunity, the Assistant High Commissioner gave several reasons why NRB’s should look to invest in Bangladesh; there is youthful recruitment, English is widely spoken and energy costs are low were just a few of the reasons. The UKBCCI works with several UK organisations and Malcolm Arnold, an International Trade Advisor with the UKTI gave an energetic and insightful speech into how British exports are viewed across the globe. The UK has an impressive reputation which has been born out of excellent customer service, quality products and innovative technologies. Malcolm Arnold explained the objectives of the UKTI and how the UKBCCI can work together to help achieve further foreign investment and increase exports. Iqbal Ahmed OBE has recently become a catalyst for the UKTI. The event also hosted speeches from other UKBCCI members, local councillors and community leaders each adding their voice to the support of the UKBCCI and its objectives.
Barrister Anawar Babul Director of the UKBCCI and nominated MP for Welwyn Hatfield, closed the seminar with a vote of thanks. The guests were then invited to lunch in the luxurious surroundings of the Vermilion restaurant where networking and a general sense of optimism filled the room.
A report on the UKBCCI Networking Event and New Year Celebration in Watford
With the launch of the United Kingdom Bangladesh Catalysts of Commerce last year, the very first of our Networking Event was held at the Prince of Bengal Restaurant in Watford on Monday, January 5th, 2015. We also took the opportunity to celebrate the New Year. This function was hosted by Saif Alam, the new Director of UKBCCI. It was well attended and supported with over 60 people from near and far. Many were so inspired that they signed up on the day to join this new organisation. A very good menu had also been prepared on this happy occasion.
In his personal message in the printed copy of the Programme for the day, Saif extended his cordial welcome to all the VIPs and guests, and looked forward to hearing and learning more of the exciting news and vision of the UKBCCI.
A Loyal Toast was proposed by Councillor Steve O’Brien from the Herts County Council; with another toast to Bangladesh by Councillor Rabi Martins from our local Watford Borough Council. The audience was also entertained to a short video presentation on Bangladesh.
The first key-note speech was made by Mr Iqbal Ahmed, OBE, the Chairman of UKBCCI, who had come all the way from Manchester to join our celebration. He complimented the good and hard work done by President Bajloor Rashid MBE and his Team. He also outlined his vision on how we could work together and move forward to achieve our goals and visions.
Mr Bajloor Rashid MBE, the President of UKBCCI followed with the second key-note presentation. He gave a brief but clear explanation on the Mission of the organisation and how potential members might enjoy the benefits once they join this new body. President Rashid also took time to introduce some of the Board of Directors, including the two new ones, Mr Oli Khan and Mr Saif Alam, and members of the Watford Branch. He also thanked Saif and his friends in hosting this event.
Many of those attending this function have been personal friends and contacts of Saif , and they included Mr Sanjay Purohit , the Trade Commissioner from the Canadian High Commissioners Office in London, and Mr Steve McQueen , a Senior Relations Director of Lloyds Bank plc from Stevenage.
The final Vote of Thanks was given by Barrister Anawar Babul Miah.
Photos and article prepared & presented by Mr Johnson Wong, who also performed as our Master of Ceremonies on this occasion.