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Chairman's Update - 4th February 2024

Discover Ammar Mirza CBE's week: Helping organisations and individuals start, survive and thrive in partnership with key stakeholders

Ammar had a busy week connecting, supporting, and promoting the whole community in the North East.


Exploring Inclusion: Reviewed the output from the Inclusion by Default Conference to better understand what inclusion means. Following up with key stakeholders, community groups and faith leaders to continue co-creating the roadmap for the region.

  • Apprenticeship Advocacy: Celebrated a team member successfully completing her Digital Marketing apprenticeship and immediately recruited a new apprentice – Ammar has been a key advocate for apprenticeships, having supported a large number through his own companies, encouraging employers to explore the benefits of apprenticeships including co-creating the Cadet Apprenticeship Pathway with Andy Black.  Ammar is chairing a session next week, as part of National Apprenticeship Week with the North East LEP and various employers. Sharing their views on why all organisations should consider apprenticeships and the support available to help recruit an apprentice.

  • International Business Support: Supported business owners from Turkey and India who are interested in establishing a presence in the North East and the UK through Airview Park.  The International Trade Centre that Ammar is leading on in partnership with various stakeholders and service providers, that will act as a physical gateway for regional businesses to export and a soft landing for inward investment.

  • Innovation in Healthcare: Facilitated a number of sessions with Health and Life Science companies who have developed digital solutions and various medical devices to improve patient care, including helping raise £m of investment and explore new markets.  Ammar has now supported hundreds of organisations through Yohlar to help innovate their business model and successfully grow globally.

  • Community Engagement: Met with Brig Paul Baker OBE a long-term supporter of Asian Business Connexions, where they discussed the Inclusion by Default Campaign, 101 Regiment Royal Artillery – where Ammar is the proud Honorary Colonel – and the Cadet Apprenticeship Pathway.

  • Collaboration with Newcastle City Council: Visited the Leader of Newcastle City Council at the Civic Centre where they explored further collaborating through the Inclusion by Default Campaign. Councillor Nick Forbes has been a significant supporter of the campaign and is keen to help realise the ambition of making the North East the most inclusive region in the UK.  They also discussed international trade where Ammar shared plans of Airview; the Industrial Strategy that the Devolved Authority is developing; and ABC supporting for future regional plans.

  • Driving Economic Growth: Followed up with the Scale up Institute and regional partners on the “Driving Economic Growth” Plan that had been co-created to help more organisations scale-up in the North East.

  • Innovating Business Models: Facilitated a roundtable discussion and helping innovating a business model using Yohlar, in partnership with the Director of Customer Relations Steven Fee, at a leading global intelligent transport systems organisation in Tees Valley - Nicander.  Nicander have helped develop and deliver intelligent solutions for governments and major organisations across the globe, supporting safe, sustainable and secure passenger transportation. They are a leading authority on inclusive innovation application and key supporter of the Inclusion by Default Campaign within Tees Valley.

  • Global Collaboration: Explored collaboration with Oceanic Group and various opportunities into Saudi Arabia, alongside supporting their awards ceremonies that help promote inclusion across all communities.

  • Mayoral Elections and Devolution: Hosted a virtual roundtable with community, business and faith leaders from Durham, Sunderland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Northumberland to discuss devolution and the upcoming mayoral elections. Ammar also spoke to a number of community organisations within Tees Valley about the upcoming election their, who are all keen to be supported given the cuts across the third sector.

  • Recognising Achievements: Attended a virtual session hosted by the Cabinet Office and Awards Nominations Committee to understand the whole rigorous nominations process.  Ammar has supported several successful nominations for various awards and ABC is keen to help ensure that any one making a significant difference is recognised.  Ammar was the youngest British born Geordie Asian to be appointed a Commander of the British Empire and is incredibly proud and humbled to have been recognised.

  • ABCurry Club: The ABCurry Clubs offer a delightful blend of curry and valuable networking opportunities, fostering connections, support, and promotion for individuals in the North East. Attendees also benefit from insights shared by keynote speakers, including some of the region's prominent figures, contributing to personal and organisational growth. ABcurry Club underscores the Inclusive Innovation Framework, a cornerstone of the Inclusion by Default Campaign. Save the date for the upcoming ABCurry Club on March 28, 2024.

  • Show Business: Ammar and Jalf had an interesting discussion on Spice FM, where they talked about the challenges and opportunities of scaling up a business. The event was sponsored by the SME Centre of Excellence. After the discussion, Ammar shared some important highlights from our #inclusionbydefault conference, which took place on January 25th, 2024.

  • Regional Education Initiative: Andy Black and Phil Andrew spearhead the regional PIE Project Enterprise Challenge, delivering enterprise activities to primary schools across the North East with a number of employers and trustees. Ammar Mirza CBE, our Chair, established the PIE Project Charity during his tenure as Chair of Governors at Tyneview Primary School. The charity is now driving the Enterprise Challenge initiative helping primary age pupils experience real live business.

  • NU-REN Interview: In an exclusive interview with Newcastle University, Ammar shared his lifelong commitment to fostering inclusivity and supporting local businesses. Despite receiving accolades, he humbly acknowledges the persistence of racism, fueling his unwavering dedication to achieving equality in the community. NU-REN expresses heartfelt gratitude to Ammar for his remarkable efforts in building an inclusive and supportive environment.

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Thank you for being a part of our journey towards a more inclusive North East. 


Together, we can create lasting memories and foster important connections and conversations. If you would like to feature in our newsletter, radio show or wider features including sponsoring an award or getting involved in the Inclusion Exhibition in June, please do reach out. Inclusion@abconnexions.org


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