Meet the incredible business leaders of the British Muslim Awards

By Kitty Knowles 26 January 2017

Because British Muslims mean business.

Diversity is one of the greatest challenges facing British businesses, but as research has shown, a more diverse business is often a more successful business.

We often discuss the “unconscious” bias that women still experience in the workplace. But this is a bias that’s often felt by other minorities in business too.

That’s why today – in a society that too often falls into the traps of Islamophobia – we are excited to shine a light on the inspirational business leaders honoured at last night’s British Muslim Awards (BMA).

These trailblazers and trendsetters are transforming the worlds of media, retail, healthcare, culture, and beyond.

Meet just a few of the BMA’s truly inspirational winners…

Businesswoman Nemat Shafik. Pic: CC/Department for International Development
Businesswoman Nemat Shafik. Pic: CC/Department for International Development

Bossing at business

There are some people who never let anything stop their journey to the top.

One such businesswoman is the former Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Nemat Shafik. Known as the ‘sheriff of the markets’, Shafik was the first-ever female deputy governor of the Bank of England, and now serves as Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

A wonderfully worthy winner of the BMA’s Leaders in Finance award.

Kazi Shafiqur Rahman, founder. Pic: Twitter/Kazi Shafiqur Rahman
Kazi Shafiqur Rahman, founder. Pic: Twitter/Kazi Shafiqur Rahman

Other inspiring business accolades went to those carving out their own business niche.

Kazi Shafiqur Rahman, for example, took home Entrepreneur of the Year. The businessman already runs a successful perfume business, and is today on a mission to launch his own airline: Firnas Airways UK.

Dr Laura Zahra McDonald, Director of ConnectFutures. Pic:
Dr Laura Zahra McDonald, Director of ConnectFutures. Pic:

Embracing digital

We know that digital brings an even wider wealth of business opportunities – something Muslim entrepreneurs are seizing by force.

Dr Laura Zahra McDonald was honoured as ‘Businesswoman of the Year’ as Director of ConnectFutures. This not only runs a digital learning platform, but youth outreach programmes and research initiatives as well.

Strategist Khalid Aziz, was recognised as a ‘Rising Star’ within Lycamobile. And My Pure Trip, an online booking site dedicated to halal-friendly holiday and honeymoon packages took home the awards for ‘Family Run Business of the Year’, and two online food retailers Haloodies and Regal Food also both won individual awards.

YouTuber Safwan Ahmedmia. Pic: Supersaf.
YouTuber Safwan Ahmedmia. Pic: Supersaf.

Raising the bar in online media

With the rise of the internet there’s also been a bold new wave of Muslim media broadcasters, making their voices heard.

You’ve probably already tuned into Safwan Ahmedmia. Best known as the man behind SuperSaf TV, the UK’s ‘Largest Tech YouTuber’ injects personality and wit into his informative video clips. With over half a million subscribers, the media mogul deservedly took home the BMA’s award for ‘Services to Creativity & Technology’.

Gulnaz Brennan, editor of Bolton’s Chai Times community news website took home ‘The Noor Inayat Khan Muslim Woman of the Year Award’, while careers advisor and professional blogger Monira Ahmed was honoured for ‘Services to Education’.

Bettering Britain’s health

With the NHS under pressure, it’s never been more important to embrace innovation in the health space. Today, a number of Muslim leaders are paving the way.

Dr Hina Shahid received the BMA’s ‘Services to Medicine Award’ for her role as the chair of the Muslim Doctors Association – an organisation dedicated to promoting better health amongst ethnic minorities across the UK.

Dr Syed Nayyer Abidi, was awarded the accolade for ‘Services to Third Sector’ as CEO of the Health Awareness Trust – a service to improve Britain’s health through tools including training workshops, blogs, helplines, interactive websites, and social media.

The University of Leicester’s Dr. Kal Karim, won the ‘Services to Science & Engineering Award’ for his contributions to molecular science (including its application to drug discovery), while Yasmin Mohammed, the Director of Shama Women’s Centre was commended with a ‘Muslim in the Community Award’ for the centre’s pioneering educational, social and wellbeing services.

Wide and wonderful contributions to British culture

In a seemingly endless list of success stories, the British Muslim Awards also importantly saw individuals recognised for achievements across wider culture.

Nasreen Ahmed, for example, was honoured for her roles as Script Editor on BBC hit soap Doctors; cricketer Haseeb Hameed took to the stage to be recognised for his sporting prowess; while Maaida Noor stood out for her culture rich artistic practise.

Chief superintendent Bas Javid was applauded for his dedication to West Midlands Police, and a number of awards went to social good leaders including Ibrar Hussain (Bradford Central LIONS CLUB), Atif Kamran (Learning Enterprises), and the international aid charity Human Appeal.

No single awards ceremony, of course, could possibly pay tribute to all the incredible Muslim leaders who are shaping Britain for the better.

But the British Muslim Awards are a good start. Congratulations to all the awards winners from The Memo.

See the full list of accolades below….

The British Muslim Awards Winners

Award Winner Organisation
Services to Law 2017 Syed Talha Rafique Duncan Lewis Solicitors
Services to Science & Engineering Dr. Kal Karim Leicester Chemistry
Services to Education Monira Ahmed University of Central Lancashire
Services to Media Nasreen Ahmed BBC
Services to Medicine Dr Hina Shahid Muslim Doctors Association
Rising Star of the Year Khalid Aziz Lycamobile
Best at Sport Haseeb Hameed Lancashire County Cricket Club
Muslim in the Community Yasmin Mohammed Farooq Nathani Shama Women’s Centre
Charity of the Year Human Appeal Human Appeal
Diversity Champion of the Year IBM Client Innovation Centre UK IBM Client Innovation Centre UK
Arts and Culture Awareness Maaida Noor Maaida Noor
Community Organisation Cricket Beyond Boundaries Cricket Beyond Boundaries
Young Achiever of the Year Ibrar Hussain Bradford Central LIONS CLUB
Spirit of Britain Haloodies Haloodies
The Noor Inayat Khan Muslim Woman of the Year Gulnaz Brennan Chai Times
Religious Advocate of the Year Imam Sohayb Peerbhai Cravenarms Islamic Centre
Leaders in Finance Nemat Shafik Bank of England
Power Business of the Year Regal Food Products Group Plc Regal Food Products Group Plc
Business of the Year Business of the Year Riverdale Insurance
Family Run Business of the Year My Pure Trip Ltd My Pure Trip Ltd
Businesswoman of the Year Dr Laura Zahra McDonald ConnectFutures
Businessman of the Year Atif Kamran Enterprises Organization
Entrepreneur of the Year Kazi Mohammed Shafiqur Rahman Firnas Airlines UK
Uniform Services of the Year Bas Javid West Midlands Police
Services to Accounting Mohammed Haque Haque MAH, Chartered Accountants, London
Services to Civil/Third Sector Dr Syed Nayyer Abidi MBE Health Awareness Trust UK