Asian businesses ‘must play key role’ in renaissance of the city
The Asian Business Chamber of Commerce’s 18 per cent surge in membership in just six months is a ‘phenomenal achievement’ which will help support the renaissance of Birmingham, a key dinner heard.
ABCC president Saqib Bhatti said increasing membership figures had now soared to almost pre-recession levels, dating back seven years to the downturn of 2008.
Mr Bhatti told 550 guests at the ABCC’s annual dinner and business awards at the ICC, sponsored by the Birmingham office of global accountants Mazars and The Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham, that the organisation had helped register record turnouts at a string of major events, including Eid, International Women’s Day and Vaisakhi.
He said it was now crucial that the ABCC played a key role in the renaissance of the city.
“Across the region we are seen as the only organisation that should be engaged with when it comes to accessing the Asian business community.
“And with all the good things that have happened in Birmingham in 2015 – including the largest influx of foreign direct investment in any LEP area and a trade surplus with China – this is our opportunity to expand to grow in a united way.
“We must let the policymakers know that, as major wealth creators and job creators, our opinions are important when it comes to key matters.
“That’s the message I have already taken to Sir Albert Bore, leader of Birmingham City Council, to Business Secretary Sajid Javed in Westminster and to diplomats, parliamentarians and leaders from across Europe when they met in Tunisia last week.”
Mr Bhatti added: “Birmingham often gets cited as the Second City. But what we have achieved as a city over the last five years since one of the toughest recessions this year has ever seen, and where we are set to go, including being a BME majority city in 15 years, leads me to a single conclusion: That the ABCC, as your voice, has a crucial role in the future development of this region. And let me make it clear – we are not second to anybody.”
Joining ABCC provided members with a whole raft of benefits, he said, including meeting the “movers and shakers” of Birmingham and the wider region, making new contacts and opportunities to win new business.
Mr Bhatti paid special thanks to Chamber chief executive Paul Faulkner and director of business services, Russell Jeans, for their wholehearted support and allocation of resources to ABCC.
He also paid tribute to Honorary Chairman Nasir Awan, vice-presidents Anita Champanieri and Waheed Saleem, executive committee members and ABCC director Anjum Khan and her team who, he said, had been pivotal in the organisation’s revival.
Mr Bhatti also congratulated ABCC members for their unstinting support, adding: “Without your presence and without you supporting us, we would not be able to do half the things we do.”
The sell-out dinner, attended by more than 550 guests and held at the ICC, was the first since the Institute of Asian Businesses – the largest ethnic support organisation in the UK and part of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce – was re-branded as ABCC.