Syed Manzur Elahi honoured at UK Bangladeshi Awards ceremony

London, Sunday 06 October – The UK Bangladesh Catalysts of Commerce and Industry (UKBCCI), on Sunday paid tribute to the invaluable impact of the Bangladeshi community on the British Economy. Ten UK residents, from a diverse range of industries, were honoured for their personal contributions and achievement, at the annual UKBCCI Awards, which took place in central London this evening.
The UK Bangladesh Catalysts of Commerce and Industry (UKBCCI) Awards were launched in 2016 to not only celebrate the impact and contribution of the UK and Bangladesh Business and Industries finest to the UK’s economy, but to also highlight that the community can no longer be regarded simply as chefs or restaurateurs, and is successfully diversifying across a vast range of sectors, including banking, finance, medicine and fashion.
There are in excess of 500,000 Bangladeshis in the United Kingdom today and they form an important part of this country’s fabric and economy. With a strong work ethic and great entrepreneurial zeal, throughout the decades, British Bangladeshis have formed businesses that have resulted in billions of pounds being contributed to the Exchequer. From the retail sector to distribution and transport, and from hotels to a very proud restaurant industry which has lovingly made curry a national dish, the community stands proud of its heritage. From Rushanara Ali MP, the first person of Bangladeshi origin to have been elected as a Member of Parliament to TV presenters such as Konnie Huq and Lisa Aziz, and from the only Bangladeshi professional footballer in England Anwar Uddin to the Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain and Baroness Pola Uddin, are just a few of the scores of British Bangladeshis making their mark on British society.
Five of this year’s ten UK winners are from the very heart of the Bangladeshi community in east London, although their reach goes well beyond the borough of Tower Hamlets, often known as Bangla Town and the traditional heartland of the community.
Bajloor Rashid MBE, President of UKBCCI said of the Awards: “Each year we aim to highlight the incredible impact of British Bangladeshi’s both here and internationally. We hope that the platform provided is used as an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of those that have worked hard to succeed and to build upon their success. Just as a beacon shines for others to follow.
As all communities search for their role models, the Bangladeshi community are proud of theirs and are indeed, like all catalysts, evoking and embracing change whilst remaining the same, grounded and proud of our roots and heritage, yet showcasing to the world, that be it in business and entrepreneurship, innovation or industry, we continue to see more and more members of the community power ahead and reach great heights across the variable and different professions and industry sectors.
These awards are inspirational and aspirational for the younger communities, who should be proud of their cultural heritage.”
This year’s winners are Best New Business:
Uji Matcha Energy Drink Developed by London Tea Exchange, using bioavailable Matcha and exotic fruit, Uji Matcha Energy is the very first true natural alternative to the Torin based energy drinks market and set to make a major impact on the health and wellbeing sector.
Contribution to the Industry: Kazi Arif Kazi Arif’s contribution to the property industry has been outstanding, and within the Bangladeshi community he is seen as somewhat of a pioneer in the property and media industry. Kazi has supported the community by offering free property-related advice to anyone with questions or concerns. When he realised just how many people needed advice, he began working on a live TV property advice show that would change the way British Bengali’s could receive property related information.
Businesswoman of the Year: Tasmin Lucia Khan Former TV news presenter, Tasmin Lucia Khan is an Oxford graduate with a Masters degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She is a prolific entrepreneur, having started her first business whilst studying at the University of Oxford. Following her broadcasting career, Tasmin moved to the US, and was a founding team member of AdMaxim Inc., a media technology start-up based in the Silicon Valley. Tasmin now divides her time between her various portfolio companies and media engagements. Earlier in 2019, she was appointed Chief Strategy Officer for AdMaxim, opening its seventh office this year with 86 employees worldwide.
Business Innovation: Professor Parvez Haris. Professor Haris currently holds the Chair of Biomedical Science at De Montfort and served as the Head of Research for the School of Allied Health Sciences for many years. He is engaged in research at the interface of chemistry, life, health and environmental sciences.
His research expertise has been widely used in both academia and in industry and has been particularly used by Pharmaceutical companies and agro-food industries. He has been funded by his University to develop an anti-cancer drug based on a natural product and a patent has been filed. His research includes the analysis of elements and molecules in living systems and the environment with particular emphasis on addressing global challenges.
Parvez has received numerous awards for his contribution in research and teaching including an ‘OSCAR’ award for excellence in research and innovation by his University. He serves on the committees of various national and international organisations including the Royal Society.
Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Rafael Choudhury Rafael Choudhury has advised for several global businesses and infrastructure projects in Europe, Africa and Asia. Rafael is part of Quantum, which is currently working on projects with major industry leaders which include Google, Facebook and Ali Baba. Quantum is working closely with the largest private sub-sea fibre optic cable provider in the world that will connect Europe and the Far East to Bangladesh via a much-needed state of the art Submarine Cable System.
Quantum is also working with Bangladesh to install multiple data centres into the country that will create over 10,000 jobs in the IT sector and provide the country with an infrastructure to attract market leaders and Hyperscalers. The total project is estimated to be in the region of $248 million.
Rafael is also partner and senior advisor to several avant-garde pharmaceutical companies – DMK Medical Ltd, BioCanna Ltd and European Extraction Services Ltd that operate out of the UK, Spain and Germany and is currently working to break into the lucrative Chinese market with a high-end brand of epigenetics cosmetic products.
Joint winner: Entrepreneur of the Year: Mamunar Rashid Chowdhury. Mamun Chowdhury is a highly successful British businessman with over 25 years’ experience in the design and manufacturing of high-end outerwear. London Tradition is regarded as a luxury outerwear brand that inspires and instils confidence in its customers, suppliers and staff because it excels at what it does. Mamun envisions his company to be the leading luxury heritage outerwear brand in the world with the mission of delivering exceptional quality outwear garments to inspire its customers.
Joint winner: Entrepreneur of the Year: Shermeena Rabbi Shermeena is a Consultant Speech and Language Therapist who has been working in the industry for fifteen years. Since its inception in 2013, her company Unlocking Language has grown into one of the largest and most successful practices in the UK.
Shermeena has pioneered new ways of delivering speech and language therapy and is regarded as an expert in her field. The company is commissioned to provide services into schools, rehabilitation units, hospitals, courts and prisons. Her innovative approach to therapy and her entrepreneurial flair has seen her team utilise bespoke and effective models of therapy, technology, and products to enhance client outcomes and success rates. Other advances include a fast track multidisciplinary Autism Assessment Service, specialist services incorporating mental health and communication and a voice and speech clarity service for corporate clients.
Shermeena was the first British Bangladeshi to graduate in Speech and Language Therapy in the UK. She champions the rights of people who cannot communicate, enabling them to have a voice. She has played a fundamental role in raising awareness of special educational needs and reducing the stigma of the disability in the inner-city communities.
Inspirational Business Leader of the Year: Shamimur Rahman Bashar Shamimur was one of the very first Managing Directors of a double-glazing company in the whole of the UK. He is now a property developer, with a bespoke showroom offering not just double glazing, but a full portfolio of services including design and development of properties for clients.
Restaurant of the Year: Bombay Palace. The Bombay Palace has been established in Earlsdon, Coventry for the past 35 years. It is a family run business under proud owner Siraj Ali and his two sons Junaid and ahead Siraj. The customer service is fantastic, with superb food and a very welcoming and relaxing environment. The restaurant has previously received a number of prestigious awards for the best restaurant in the West Midlands. Bombay Palace has recently been refurbished to a high standard to make it an even better dining experience.
In addition to the above public awards, four special awards. Selected by the judging panel, led by Lord Karan Bilimoria, were presented to Family Business of the Year: Mr Mohammed Mahtabur Rahman Mr. Mohammed Mahtabur Rahman is a seasoned businessman and well versed in a broad range of trade ventures around the world hails from Sylhet. Currently the Chairman and Managing Director of Al Haramain Perfumes Group of Companies he has extended his perfume business internationally in countries as diverse as France, Singapore, Malaysia, the US and the United Kingdom. Al Haramain Perfumes, one of the largest fragrance manufacturers in the Middle East region,
Special Recognition Award – Janomot. Janomot is the leading Bengali publication in the UK for high-quality coverage of local news and opinions most meaningful to them. It influences the policy-makers from politics to business to focus and act on BAME-centric issues and encourages more readers to form a more informed opinion. Proudly independent, it prioritises public interest over the agenda of the elites.
UKBCCI Directors Choice Award: Channel S. Channel S the largest BME channel in Europe and it very quickly it has gained momentum and a solid reputation, despite having to compete with other reputed mainstream and Asian television channels who had been serving the community for many years.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Syed Manzur Elahi.
Syed Manzur Elahi is the Founding Chairman of Mutual Trust Bank Ltd. (MTB) and Pioneer Insurance Company Limited and currently serving as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the bank. Elahi is the Chairman of Apex Group, a leading business conglomerate in Bangladesh, and has won various awards for his contributions to trade and industry.
Besides being an eminent industrialist, he was also appointed Adviser to the Caretaker Government of Bangladesh, twice (1996 and2001), for his leadership qualities, professionalism and non-partisanship.
This year’s gala awards ceremony was also attended by Her Excellency Ms Saida Muna Tasneem, Bangladesh High Commission; Rt Hon James Cleverly MP; Lord Karan Bilimoria; Rushanara Ali MP; Paul Scully MP; Julian Knight MP; John Biggs, Executive Mayor, LB Tower Hamlets and The Worshipful Mayor of Croydon, Cllr Humayun Kabir.