Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani school pupil and education activist who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, received a President’s award from the Midlands Asian community at a gala dinner in Birmingham on Saturday night. At the Institute of Asian Businesses (IAB) annual dinner and business awards at the International Convention Centre, Malala was chosen in recognition of her inspiration, achievements and efforts to help others.
Known for her education and women’s rights activism in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school, the assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support.
She was more recently named as the most powerful British Asian and Asian resident in the UK by the Asian Media and Marketing Group power list.
Nasir Awan, president of the IAB said: “The president’s award each year is given to a person who has shown dedication and inspires others. We are honoured that this young teenager who inspires both young and old and has risked her life for this cause, has chosen Birmingham as her home. In making this award, we felt that there is none more deserving.”
Winning business person of the year, sponsored by Irwin Mitchell LLP, was Mike Hopkins, principal of South & City College Birmingham in recognition of his achievements in providing the inspiration for the successful growth of the college.
Mr. Hopkins oversaw the merger between South Birmingham College and City College Birmingham and has grown the overall business to a figure of £61 million. The college now employs over 1,500 full and part time staff, making it one of the largest employers in the city.
Young entrepreneur of the year, sponsored by Total Gas & Power Ltd., went to Pav Shergill, who launched the Monsoon Venue Group this year and has already secured an exclusive contract with the NEC Group to manage Asian events on behalf of the Group’s four world-class venues, the ICC, the NEC, the NIA and the award winning LG Arena.
JM Security Systems and the NEC Group were named joint winners of the outstanding customer service of the year award, sponsored by East End Foods plc. JM Security Systems provides security solutions, delivering cost effective, reliable, quality installations with customer care to nationwide clients, and is the only CCTV and commercial and residential alarm insulation company that is in partnership with crime stoppers.
The NEC Group is one of the world’s leading venue management companies, providing a multitude of services including event management, catering, security, marketing, ticketing, IT and technical services.
Edward’s Trust, which offers vital support to bereaved parents and children, won the outstanding contribution to society award, sponsored by Birmingham Airport. The charity’s holistic bereavement care helps to overcome the devastation that comes to a parent losing a son or daughter whatever their age, or a child losing their parent at an early age.
Wow Internet won the first South and City College Birmingham Apprenticeship Champion Award. The specialist web design and social media company was recognised for the support that it has given to the apprenticeship programme by taking on two young people. The small company says it has plans to recruit more as it grows.
Nasir Awan, president of the IAB said: “For many years we have helped and supported our members to grow their business, create jobs and boost the Midlands economy. It was a great opportunity to hear Dr. Rami Ranger talk to us about the growth of his business. We were also delighted that we raised £3,275 for Birmingham Rathbone, which enables people with learning difficulties to achieve their full potential.”