Educational service wins ABCC Business of the Year
Educational testing service A-Team Academy are top of the class in Greater Birmingham – after winning the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce (ABCC) Business of the Year.
The educational specialists scooped the coveted overall Business of the Year award, sponsored by Shakespeare Martineau at the National Conference Centre, Solihull after winning the Outstanding Small Business of the Year category sponsored by Lioncroft Wholesale.
The headline sponsors this year were Aston University, Doug Wright trading as McDonalds and Lioncroft Wholesale.
A-Team Academy emerged overall winners following a pivotal moment in 2022-23 when it embarked on an ambitious £40,000 plus investment programme with the launch of another innovative learning centre in Handsworth.
The judging panel, chaired by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce director of external affairs Raj Kandola said: “Despite the significant expansion of the A-Team Academy’s business, there mission statement, 'Learning Today. Leading Tomorrow,' remains firmly ingrained in the heart of their operations.
“What truly sets them apart is their inclusivity. Embracing students ranging from 10 to 70 years old to sit exams with them exemplifies the belief that education transcends age, creed, or colour.
“This unwavering dedication to inclusivity and equal educational access is the foundational reason behind establishing the A-Team Academy.”
The Academy established collaborations with the Access to Music college in the Jewellery Quarter while engaging in partnerships with local community institutions, including the Nishkam Centre, Oakland Young People’s Centre and Lozells Central Mosque.
The increased engagement in the wake of the opening of the new state of the art learning centre prompted rises in enrolment from the Sikh community, Afro-Caribbean, Romanian and Somali communities, boosting the Academy’s impact for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Academy’s growing renown brought a prestige invitation from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in the UAE to take part in an international educational fair which led to an invitation to an Investors Dinner in Dubai, with students from the Middle East state later travelling to Birmingham to sit their exams with A-Team.
The Academy owes much of its success to head of centre Amin Miah whose experiences at the Teach First graduate scheme and management of the National Citizen Service led him to set up the tutoring centre.
Students were welcomed initially from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India and the Academy later widened its net to Hong Kong, Romania, Italy, Spain, Nigeria and the Middle East with tutors hailing from Ukraine, Sri Lanka, China, Germany and elsewhere.
Amin admits that the transformative influence at his school in inner-city Birmingham of an Asian teacher who guided pupils through English Language and Literature changed his life and paved the way for his own influence on hundreds of young people who have since walked through the doors of A-Team Academy. Over 1,000 students have enrolled over the past year.
From the outset the Academy has been entirely self-funded without external grants or loans and 2023 marked its highest turnover to date, building on its post-pandemic growth. Despite the recent expansion its mission statement ‘Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow’ remains the mantra at the heart of its operations.
ABCC President Omar Rashid told guests at the awards: “In this room I know there are some amazing business owners and entrepreneurs. We should never shy away or fail to highlight the immense value and potential that Asian businesses bring to the table. We need to champion that our cultural and business diversity can be a strength, not a limitation.”
Outstanding Start-Up Business of the Year sponsored by DesiCity
Winner – Find Me A Solicitor
Outstanding Small Business of the Year sponsored by Lioncroft Wholesale
Winner – A-Team Academy
Outstanding Female Entrepreneur of the Year sponsored by NatWest Group
Winner – Janani Prasad, Mojostack
Outstanding Male Entrepreneur of the Year sponsored by Azets
Winner – Sam Cinkir, Este Medical Group
Outstanding Professional Services of the Year sponsored by Kenneth Jones Solicitors
Winner – Wahed Invest Ltd
Outstanding Tech and Digital Business of the Year sponsored by South and City College Birmingham
Winner – Forward Carers CIC
Outstanding Charity of the Year sponsored by OTD (Our Training Department)
Winner – FareShare Midlands
Outstanding Young Achiever of the Year sponsored by Staffordshire University
Winner – Gurdeep Chima, Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CRÈME)
Overall Business of the Year sponsored by Shakespeare Martineau
Winner - A-Team Academy
Winner – Award winning TV host, radio presenter and comedian Noreen Khan