Two leading figures in the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) in Birmingham have received awards in the New Year’s Honours. Nasir Awan, the ABCC’s chairman, and its vice-president Aftab Chughtai have both received MBEs. Mr Awan (pictured), chief executive of Awan Marketing International plc, received the award for services to business and international trade and Mr Chughtai’s MBE was for services to business and community relations in Birmingham.
Both have been leading members of Greater Birmingham’s Asian community for a number of years and Mr Awan served as president from 2011 to 2014.
Mr Awan is head of a third generation import and wholesale distribution company, with a head office in Hockley, Birmingham. It was established in 1976 by his late father and is now also headed by his two sons
Mr Awan is on many boards of management as well as contributing voluntary work as a trustee for charities. He has been chair of the governing body of an inner city school for the past 14 years and is on the governing body of South & City College.
For the past 14 years, Mr Chughtai, who runs a department store specialising in baby products in East Birmingham, has supported the deprived communities of Washwood Heath and Saltley through his service to local business and race relations.
Since 2001, he has been a member of the Chamber and, between 2002 and 2013, served as a member of the enterprise and communities board of Birmingham City Council.
He has been involved in shaping regeneration strategies in the area along with organising local events as well as playing a strong role in assisting the speedy delivery of the local health centre.
Since 2007, he has strove to forge links between his community and the West Midlands Police in an area which has had a history of serious racial tension and has acted as an adviser to Operation Gamble, a strike against counter-terrorism from Muslim extremists.
Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the GBCC, said: “These are richly deserved awards for men who has found time to look after the interests of others while being extremely busy as heads of a successful businesses.
“Nasir is passionate about the black minority ethnic community and to see it succeed and excel in every sector. He has carried out an enormous amount of work to ensure that they take advantage of the many opportunities that might come their way locally and nationally.
“His expertise and guidance has been invaluable in ensuring the success of the ABCC, which is now an important part of the Greater Birmingham business community and one which stages one of the most successful awards dinners in the region.
“Aftab has been foremost in forging links for the Asian community in Birmingham especially in areas threatened by racial tension.”
Professor Charles Craddock, a consultant haematologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital who co-founded the charity Cure Leukaemia – who were the choice of Chamber president Greg Lowson for support this year - has been made a CBE for services to medicine and medical research.
There was also an honour for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, also members of the GBCC. Violinist Catherine Aldridge, who joined the CBSO 25 years ago, has been made an MBE for services to music education. She has dedicated her professional life to performing, touring and recording with the orchestra.
In addition, she has carried out a busy programme of educational activities away from the concert platform. She works regularly in schools, exploring creative music making and composition, through collaborations with teachers, actors, composers, visual artists, authors and dancers.
Other recipients associated with the GBCC included Marc Bailey, of Moflash Signalling, who received an MBE for services to international trade, and Arnie Kaplan, former owner of Metro Shipping, also was awarded an MBE for services to charity, particularly through Gentlemen’s Night Out.