The Wales Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce staged its annual gala dinner at Celtic Manor’s Caernarvon Suite with members converging on Newport from across Wales and the UK.
The chamber, which draws membership from across a vast range of commerce from the professions to retail, saw in excess of 500 people attend the event which had Women Empowerment and Women in Business as its theme.
Chamber chairman Dilabor Hussain, in a welcome message, told delegates of the importance of the empowerment of women in business: “In Wales female entrepreneurs need equalising support in order to break barriers, glass roofs and stereotypical views.”
Dilabor said the chamber had invited strong female role models to the annual event to illustrate that ‘any dreams you have can be achieved and should be achieved’.
The event, which was hosted by BBC journalist and news presenter Lucy Owen, heard from Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for the east London constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow and the Prime Minister Teresa May’s trade envoy to Bangladesh; commercial counsellor Bangladesh High Commission, Sharifa Khan; Cardiff Airport CEO Deb Barber; lawyer and editor Ayesha Qureshi; and editor and magazine owner Rosena Alim.
The event, which featured a range of south Asian cultural and musical entertainment as well as information on Bangladesh and talks on empowerment for women, was officially opened by Welsh Assembly cabinet secretary for finance Mark Drakeford, AM.
The range of political parties in Wales were also given a platform.
Newport-born businessman Faisal Rahman, owner of Popadoms Restaurant on High Street, Newport, a member of Wales Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and one of the sponsors of the event, said: “Bangladeshi businesses are playing an increasingly important part in the economy of Wales and the UK as a whole. The annual gala dinner allows Bangladeshi business people to come together, to network and to showcase their talents.
“Our chamber believes that for the Welsh Bangladeshi business community to progress there is a need to cultivate and support the aspirations of females who are sometimes left on the sidelines as traditionally males tend to dominate the business arena.”
Among the main sponsors of the event were Cardiff Airport, the University of South Wales, Chwarae Teg, Santander Elavon, the Celtic Manor Resort and Mas Bazaar.