THE CO-FOUNDERS of one of the leading names in the UK’s security and facilities management sectors have been named Black British Business People of the Year. Jamal Tahlil and Edgar Chibaka, who launched Yorkshire-based First Response Group, carried off the top prize at this year’s Black British Business Awards.
Now in their eighth year, the Black British Business Awards are designed to celebrate the exceptional performance and outstanding achievements of black professionals and business owners in the UK, in turn empowering organisations with the necessary tools to attract, retain and progress their internal Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic talent.
This latest accolade comes just three months after First Response Group was crowned as Recognised Service Provider Champion at the Living Wage Foundation Champion Awards and ten months after the company featured in The Sunday Times’ 10 Fast-Track Ones to Watch listing.
Both East African immigrants, Tahlil and Chibaka started the company – which provides security and facilities management services to a wide range of clients in the public and private sectors – back in 2007.
From nothing, the business now employs more than 500 people and, in July this year, reported a sales turnover of £25 million. In the process, the profitable business, which counts AXA Insurance among its top blue chip customers, has made two successful acquisitions.
Last year, First Response Group was brought in by the University of Oxford to bolster security at its COVID-19 research facility. The company was recommended for this highly important security detail after successfully demonstrating its expertise and reliability with the same university during the first national lockdown.
Speaking about the news, Tahlil (who’s very well experienced in facilities management, construction, real estate and insurance risk managements) said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised for our combined achievements at the Black British Business Awards. To win Black British Business People of the Year, the top prize, is simply incredible.”
He continued: “We started our business from nothing, but with hard work and a shared vision it has now outgrown even our own expectations. This award also recognises the dedication of our entire team, without whom we would not be where we are today.”
Chibaka, who serves as executive Board chairman of the UK Malawi Business Group that fosters bilateral business between the UK and Malawi, added: “I would like to thank our colleagues at First Response Group for believing in our vision and running with it to consistently deliver fantastic and innovative customer experiences. To our customers, Thank You so very much for trusting in our promise that we ‘listen, respond and deliver’. To our supply chain, Thank You for your support.”
Sophie Chandauka, executive founder and chair of the Black British Business Awards, commented: “It’s an honour to shine a spotlight on this year’s winners who are not only doing remarkable things in their own organisations, but also in their personal lives. This year’s senior leaders epitomise the meaning of ‘role models’. They are leading significant commercial functions, while also acting as wise counsel for their investors, Boards of Directors and rising talent during the pandemic and its parallel period of social unrest. Congratulations again to all of this year’s winners and finalists.”
*Further information on the First Response Group is available online at www.firstresponsegroup.com