Jas Sansi photographs The Signature Awards 2019 at ICC Birmingham and reflects on the key message shared by Ninder Johal.
There are companies who embrace diversity and understand the value in drawing down from a broad church of ideas. For others, the comforts of a familiar face, background and culture continue to be the default option.
It’s unproductive to criticise taking the easier option. Organisations rarely change because of external pressures. Better to channel the energy of disappointment to exploit new opportunities.
Necessity not external pressure forges change; here in the UK, we are witnessing full employment. The uncertainty in our future relationship with Europe may be discouraging worker bees from exploring new hives. The decision to Brexit has seen EU nationals transfer their skills to other countries.
Companies who wish to scale up their operations have consequently less human resource to tap into. Great for wage inflation, not so great for corporate ambition.
The necessity to think bigger and search wider in finding people to grow companies, throws a spotlight on the opportunities diversity offers.
The Suffragettes marched Gender Equality to the gates of social change but it was the necessity of tapping into female workers during the World Wars that smashed those gates open. Allies fought fascism and were rewarded with enlightenment on the role of women in a post industrial world. Smashed gates never close.
Diversity has been an aspiration for decades. The UK has championed the march of BAME Entrepreneurs as one of cornerstones of modern British success. Again this has been necessity rather than choice; if those Black and Asian entrepreneurs were given opportunities to grow early in their careers, they may not have heard the call of Enterprise and Self Employment nor would they have been tempted to explore new employment markets in North America.
This was my take from the Signature Awards hosted by Ninder Johal addressing a sold out Hall 4 at Birmingham ICC aided by the Brilliant Maharajah of Mayhem Tommy Sandhu.
Ninder Johal has grown the annual celebration of our region’s business success stories to mature into a must attend event. He called on the business community to recognise there is a smaller pool of talent available because of Brexit and full employment, and to go beyond their comfort zones in providing opportunities to inject fresh ideas.
Signature Awards isn’t Black success, White success or Asian Success, its Business Success. There is value in having the attention of 550 business people; today and tomorrow’s leaders and urging them to harvest different fields whether its from White Working Class communities or the Muslim community. These are fields of gold.
The future battles in business are not mechanical, the robots are already here, automation has evolved from production lines and conveyor belts to become an art form of just in time logistics and elegant efficient satisfaction of supply and demand.
This is why Brexit means so much more than Brexit. Anyone can exit a relationship, all it takes is harsh words and a door, but how do you exit a complex integrated relationship developed over five decades that has shaped the fabric of our country? The simple answer is you can’t nor should you even try to.
The future battles will be in ideas and creativity. Key Note speak Piers Linney from BBC Dragons’ Den alluded to this. Piers explained the difference between machines and humans is our ability to think creatively.
You can program an algorithm into software, Trillion dollar corporations like Amazon demonstrate the value of doing so. But ultimately, each of the products they move around the planet via truck, van or drone evolved from a human idea or conversation. Diversity of ideas and conversations will shape the next wave of UK success stories.
Thank you to everyone who made the night an incredible success especially the Sponsors without whom events such as these would be very difficult to deliver.
Congratulations to all finalists and winners in this year’s Signature Awards.
A personal highlight for me was the House of Commons Whisky bottle signed by Prime Minister Theresa May and Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn. In a week where the two struggled to sit opposite each other to thrash out a Brexit solution, their joint signatures raised £1050 fund matched by Barclays raising £2100 for Acorns Hospice contributing to a total (yet to be confirmed) for the much loved Charity headed up by Toby Porter.
Congratulations to my very good friend Ninder Johal who was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands, announced by John Crabtree during his welcome speech.
The Signature Awards will be back in 2020, until then, the memories from this year are signed, sealed and delivered.
Complete list of the Signature Awards 2019 winners:
Excellence in Finance (Individual) – Damon Walford (Thin Cats) and Paul Kalinauckas (BCRS Loans)
Excellence in Law – Kulraj Dassaur
Excellence in Finance (Organisation) – Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank Plc
Excellence in Legal Services – Veale Wasbrough Vizards LLP
Excellence in Real Estate – Bahram Parinchy (Pro Build 360)
Excellence in the Owner Practice for the Professions – JM Wilson Solicitors
International / Innovation / Enterprise of the Year – Microfresh
Small Business of the Year – KMB Shipping Group
Business Person of the Year – Manjeet Rai
Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion – Turner Townsend
Entrepreneur of the Year – James Tark
Excellence in Promoting Apprenticeships – Total Training Company
Highly Commended Companies Recognised by Signature Awards 2019
Business of the Year – The Staffing Group
Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham @jassansi 07930 837 505, a Diversity and Equality Trustee for LoveBrum and Columnist for The Asian Today newspaper.
Full set of images from Signature Awards 2019 can be seen at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jassansi/sets/72157702971850092