The region’s first ethnic minority business awards have been hailed a landmark event in the fight to break down barriers and go mainstream.
It featured Bollywood dancers, Indian and Pakistani food and inspirational speeches about struggle, entrepreneurial flair and family support.
When Irshad Akbar, of organisers ABDN, took the stage he said it was now time for business people from ethnic minorities to leave the “comfort zone” of their communities and play a bigger part in the wider world.
ABDN is the business network that promotes enterprises launched by people from the UK’s ethnic minorities.
Its first business awards in South Yorkshire was a sold-out success at the Double Tree Hilton in Sheffield, attended by 300 people.
Irshad said: “The theme of our inaugural event is breaking barriers. Minority communities have done well in business, but the vast majority are still anchored within their comfort zones, inner city ghettos serving their own communities.
“We need to break out and ‘mainstream’ these businesses. There are great opportunities even in recession both at home and beyond.
“Ethnic minority businesses have exceptional qualities including entrepreneurial flair, hard work, integrity and a strong family support network.
“These are key ingredients for success. Harnessed and nurtured, we can become the driver for UK Plc coming out of the recession.”
James Newman, chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership, urged those attending to get involved in the LEP and influence Sheffield City Region’s economic future.
Mr Newman added: “We would also like you to use your connection overseas with businesses in countries that are doing well.”
The winners: Business Of The Year - New Roomstyle; Business Start-Up - Play Arena; Female Entrepreneur - Afshan Islam of Beauty Beneath; Young Entrepreneur - Ghulaam Ijaz of UK Legal Estates; Professional - Jay Bhayani of Bhayani Bracewell Employment Law; Social Enterprise - South Yorkshire African Caribbean Centre; Customer Service - Chandni.