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Text of speech - ABDN 2011
These last 3 years have been difficult, for most of us, but like our role models here tonight,
we at ABDN have never flinched from doing things differently, from believing in ourselves. Standing still has never been an
option, as times change, we have to reinvent ourselves. From those heady days in 1996 when we planted the seeds of The Asian
Business Development Network to its metamorphosis into ABDN The Network of Influence, operating from West Yorkshire, South
Yorkshire and The NorthWest, the evolution has followed our vision. The vision to inspire enterprise across communities, helping
integrate rather than promote a segregated ghetto culture. ABDN represents business, not any particular
section of the community, and of course you will see when we come to the awards, we had over a 100 nominations of which more
than 50% were from the indigenous business community. It also demonstrates that as times change, simple entrepreneurial flair
does not always work, working clever, looking beyond your comfort zones is what our winners have done, and they have Aimed
High when the going was tough.
dynamics of business support have changed with
the change of government. ABDN has reinvented itself, understanding fully that we have to provide
sustainable viable and commercial support to business. The heydays of hand outs are over. Businesses have to be resilient
in these difficult times, they have to manage their resources efficiently, have good financial systems in place which will
help them to have the support of their banks. A key ingredient missing in many Asian businesses is the lack of good financial
and management information systems. Invariably we find that a large number of SME's particularly
from the Asian community are still stuck in low growth retail markets. It is time for these businesses to change. Change has a psychological
impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is
encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.
We must not allow ourselves
to get into a rut, the
only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions.
There is much to be proud about the BME communities who have made Britain their home. Voltaire
said, “If there were only one religion in England there would be danger of despotism, if there were two, they would
cut each other’s throats, but there are thirty, and they live in peace and happiness.” In spite of the knocks
it has suffered in recent times Britain has thrived on multiculturalism. It has welcomed newcomers for centuries. It
is a mixture of diverse ethnic groups, each with their own distinct culture language or religion; a fascinating mosaic of
different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. The recent statement by Mr David
Cameron, that multiculturalism has failed in Britain, has shaken the already crumbling confidence
of the ethnic minority communities, particularly the 2 million Muslims who are the subject of the Prime Ministers ire.
It is a travesty to put down the success, economic cultural and social, that the coming together of the multitude of nationalities
has had on Britain, particularly over the past 50 years. Ghettos have evolved into thriving communities; Asian entrepreneurs
have brought vigour and passion transforming the economic scene of the country. Those who arrived in the UK with
little more than the clothes they were wearing are well established and prominent
in business and professional life.
We are dedicated to our clients. We believe in one word: excellence. We think this commitment shows in all our products and
|With Larry Hurst Chairman IBM Europe Africa & Asia
In a generation or two we have witnessed the renaissance
of decaying inner cities and an evolving social harmony. It was not until 9/11 and more so since 7/7 that cracks began
to develop in the social fabric holding communities together, fuelled by the fear created by politicians for the sake
of political expediency and aggravated by a media too willing to propagate Islamophopia.
Like many in this room,
my dreams and aspirations and those of my children are intrinsically rooted in Britain. I have lived most of my life
here and I will die here, my children born and brought up here have earned the right to be as British as Mr Cameron.
How then can my prime minister fail to celebrate multiculturalism in my country and fail to heal the wounds perpetrated
by patronising government policies?
I came to
a drab old Britain, devoid of energy and colour, people used to go to bed at 6pm! Now I wake up at 4am to cheer England in
the World Cup. And look around
the room, this
is a celebration of multicultural Britain today!
Over the past 13 years, we have endeavoured to inspire and to stimulate, to lead by
example. As we Aim High this year I want to share with you the last stretch of my journey of life. I hope I can inspire you into believing in the
impossible, each one of us has the ability to create history, to change our lives and of those around us. We simply have to
believe that we have it in us to do so. And the power behind that belief is Faith. My life has been one of challenges, losing
my son to cancer and diagnosed with cancer 11 years ago. Given 4 years to live, I enjoyed 10 years of a fascinating life,
and then 2 days before last year’s ABDN dinner I had a relapse. They tell me that it may be the end
of the line for me. But just as 11 years ago, I know only God writes my destiny - I have that belief that this time too, inspite
of all the odds I shall overcome the challenges.
most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than
It is courage that
raises the blood of life to crimson splendour. Live bravely and present a brave front to adversity.
we look at a calendar of days as merely a symbol of the passage of time. We forget why we are on this earth. We forget that
there is a reason for all of the pain and all of the struggle. We forget that we were put on earth to learn something. If
everything were perfect in this life, we would never learn anything new. We would not be able to elevate our spirits through
the events that happen to us.
there is a purpose in life there must be a purpose in suffering and in dying. But no man can tell another what this purpose
is. Each must find out for himself, and must accept the responsibility that his answer prescribes. If he succeeds he will
continue to grow in spite of all indignities.
So let us carry on looking at the stars, and beyond.