Two women shared a top accolade at the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) annual dinner and awards, on Saturday.
Dee Kundi, from VWV, and Rosie Ginday, from Miss Macaroon, were jointly presented with the ‘Business Woman of the Year’ award (sponsored by Aston University) at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham.
The judges could not define a clear winner in the category.
Mandy Canny, Chair of the judging panel, said: “The judges were unable to single out a winner of this category, as both of these business people demonstrated a huge amount of impact in their respective fields.
“Ms Kundi is a leader in litigation, a key innovator and a role model for any woman looking to enter the legal sector.
“Ms Ginday has brought a positive change to a number of unemployed people in the region. The judges commented on the huge impact that her business has made to the lives of many people.
“These winners highlight the hard and exemplary work being done by business women in Greater Birmingham.”
Other winners included accountancy, tax, legal and advisory services firm Mazars, who won ‘Outstanding Diversity and Inclusion’ (sponsored by South and City College Birmingham) and overall ‘Business of the Year’ (sponsored by West Midlands Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association).
The firm was commended for prioritising and embedding diversity and inclusion into its processes, which included appointing a diversity and inclusion leader to refine and implement a national strategy.
Mazars has implemented a pilot “return-to-work” programme for senior women, signed up to the HM Treasury’s ‘Women in Finance Charter’ and ABCC’s ‘Diversity in Leadership’ pledge.
The firm’s commitment to diversity has resulted in positive results. Its entry level recruitment offers to women increased to 45 per cent in 2018, from 41 per cent in 2017. There was a rise of 35 per cent to black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) candidates in 2018, compared to 24 per cent in 2017.
The firm has also been ranked in the Social Mobility Foundation’s top 20 employers in the UK taking the most action on social mobility.
Nursery group Sandhills Group picked up ‘Outstanding SME Business of the Year’ award (sponsored by Mazars).
Winner of the ‘Outstanding Start-Up Business of the Year’ award (sponsored by Love Your Postcode) went to The HR Dept – Bham NE & SW.
Augmented reality and eLearning solutions firm Enlighten received the ‘Outstanding Use of Digital Technology and Innovation’ award (sponsored by Bootcamp Media).
Newly-formed hospitality venture, Unique Venues Birmingham (UVB), received the ‘Outstanding Hospitality and Event Services’ award (sponsored by Mahirs Experience).
The ‘Outstanding Contribution to Society in Business’ award (sponsored by Tipu Sultan) was presented to not-for-profit firm Gro-Organic.
A children’s heart charity, Little Hearts Matter, was the recipient of the ‘Outstanding Charity of the Year’ award (sponsored by Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Hub).
Sparkbrook-based Women’s Enterprise Hub picked up the ‘Diversity and Inclusion Champion’ award.
The organisation supports the development of women-led businesses, by providing business support, meeting space and a range of events.
The final award of the evening went to Mike Hopkins, principal of South and City College Birmingham, who was the recipient of the President’s Medal.
Mr Hopkins received the award in recognition of his leadership in the sector and charitable activities.
President of the ABCC, Qasim Majid, and mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street both made keynote speeches to the 500 attendees.
Mr Majid told guests that the “ultimate focus” of the ABCC is its community and that the diversity of the Chamber and region was something to be “exceptionally proud of”.
He said: “I look around this evening, and I feel honoured and privileged to be sat among the regions finest business professionals, many of whom I can call good friends.
“There’s a great deal we can all learn from the diversity of the professionals and entrepreneurs in this room, irrespective of age, gender, religion or ethnicity.
“And it’s something that we as an organisation and a region should be exceptionally proud of.
“While I am the president of the ABCC, the ultimate focus is you, our community.
“Only together can we nurture a culture that promotes diversity and inclusion and continues to support business leaders of the future.
“Only together can we create opportunities for aspiring professionals and entrepreneurs that we as the ABCC create the opportunities and conditions for business and individuals to thrive.
“I’m also immensely proud and honoured to standing here today, representing an organisation, fostered by an incredible group of people, that transform businesses and are transforming the very region and city we call our home.
““There is no ‘I and me’, it is ‘we and us,’ that’s how we create together and that’s how we go far.”
Mr Street said: “While I was running for Mayor I talked a lot about the leadership of the West Midlands not reflecting our diverse population. Since then we have launched the Leadership Commission which is tasked with encouraging people from backgrounds traditionally poorly represented in leadership roles.
“The ABCC is one of the real shining lights and has an important role to play in helping us to deliver the changes we all want to see.”
Birmingham City University, Douglas Wright Restaurants trading as McDonald’s, and HSBC were the headline sponsors of the awards and dinner.
The Anzal Begum Foundation, which delivers local and international projects in economically deprived communities, was the chosen charity of the evening.
The event was hosted by TV star Nina Wadia.