Founding Managing Director of Malawi’s powerful online publication, Nyasa Times, Edgar Chibaka, who is also an entrepreneur and co-founder of a security and facilities management company scooped top prize at Black British Business Awards (BBBAwards) last Thursday at the annual event that celebrates the achievements of some of the UK’s top corporate bosses and entrepreneurs.
Chibaka and partner Jamal Tahlil from Somalia started their Leeds based £25 million a year business, First Response Group (FRG) in 2007 and now employs more than 500 people.
The enterprising duo also own a number of businesses such as: Apardion FM & Security based in Aberdeen, Scotland; Robinsons MEA Ltd, a mechanical and electrical contractor; Rocool HVAC, an air conditioning and ventilation business; Gemini Rail, a critical labour and contracting business; Robinsons Living, a property maintenance business among others. Combined group sales turnover is £36 million.
This year’s winners were revealed and announced during a virtual ceremony last Thursday where Chibaka and Tahlil emerged the overall winners carting home with the prestigious joint Black British Person of the Year 2021.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a keynote speech and wished the winners and finalists every success.
“I am lost in admiration for the economic and cultural contributions Black Britons have made and continue to make to our country, especially as we recover from the pandemic.
“The #BBBAwards continue to distinguish exceptional business talent and amplify black voices, careers and stories across the UK from a range of industries. I am proud to lead a country celebrated for its dynamism and diversity, and where every day Black Britons are making history,” Prime Minister Johnson said.
Now in its eighth year, The BBBAwards celebrate the exceptional performance and outstanding achievements of black professionals and business owners in the UK, and empowers organisations with the necessary tools to attract, retain and progress their internal Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic talent.
Tahlil, who is well experienced in facilities managements, construction, real estate and insurance risk managements, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised for our combined achievements at the Black British Business Awards. To win Black British Businesspeople of the Year, the top prize, is simply incredible.
“We started our business from nothing, but with hard work and a shared vision it has now outgrown even our expectations. This award also recognises the dedication of our whole team, without whom we would not be where we are today – one of the leading names in the UK’s security and FM sectors,” remarked Tahlil.
Chibaka, who also serves as Chairman of the UK Malawi Business Group that fosters bilateral business between the UK and Malawi, added: “I’d like to thank our colleagues at FRG for believing in our vision and running with it to consistently deliver fantastic and innovative customer experiences.
“To our customers, thank you for trusting our promise that: “we listen, respond and deliver’. To our supply chain, thank you for your support,” said Chibaka.
BBBAwards co-founder and chair of the awards Sophie Chandauka in a statement said: “It is an honour to shine a spotlight on this year’s winners who are not only doing remarkable things in their own organisations but also in their personal lives.
“This year’s senior leaders epitomise the meaning of ‘role models’. They are leading significant commercial functions whilst acting as wise counsel for their investors, boards of directors and rising talent during the pandemic and period of social unrest. Congratulations again to all of this year’s winners and finalists.”
Chandauka said this year’s finalists have delivered tremendous commercial value across sectors in volatile markets, where entrepreneurs in particular have been decimated.
She said: “They have been strategic advisors to their companies and boards as global corporations are challenged by investors to address systemic racism. Despite the pandemic and social unrest, they are fiercely competitive, creative and commercially savvy. They are global in their outlook and ambition, and represent the very best of being British in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit Europe.”
“This year’s winners are not only doing remarkable things in their own organisations, but also their personal lives,” Chandauka said.
The event, for which one of the UK’s leading media house, The Telegraph, is a media partner, recognised up-and-comers and senior leaders across six industries: arts and media; consumer and luxury; start-ups; financial services; professional services; and STEM (science, tech, engineering and maths).
Last year FRG was brought in by the University of Oxford to bolster security at its Covid-19 research facility and was recommended for the highly important security detail after successfully demonstrating its expertise and reliability with the University during the first national lockdown.
More information about First Response Group and its innovative products and services is available from its website, https://www.firstresponsegroup.com/
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