[Written 9 October]
People across Birmingham will be dusting off theirs tuxes and and slipping into their ball gowns in preparation to strut down the red carpet as the MBCC Awards founder has announced the event will return to Birmingham on Saturday 14 October.
This year the Midlands Business and Community Charity Awards 2017 takes place at Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport and is already sold out.
The Birmingham event is highly anticipated following the success of last year’s event where over £4000 was raised for charity.
The awards are the brain-child of Zoe Bennett, a midland based business owner and author.
On the night, multi-award winning TV and Radio Broadcaster, Leah Charles-King will be hosting the event. Readers may recognise her from ITV’s Jackpot247 or may have listened to her drivetime radio show on The Beat London, 103.6FM.
One of Charles-King’s many accolades is that she has been described as the, ‘first and only black female CITV continuity presenter in its 35 year history’.
Ms Charles-King took to social media to say: “ I am so excited that I have been asked to co-host the MBCC awards in Birmingham.
“What is so great about this charity is that all proceeds go towards it and it’s there to recognise the accomplishments of unsung heroes within the business and community world, those who go the extra mile for others and I love things like that.
“It’s going to be a prestigious event”
Joining Leah on stage as a host is Brad Burton a motivational speaker and business owner.
Justice Williams MBE will be interviewing finalists from the Red carpet.
In 2010, Ms Williams was described as the youngest black woman to receive an MBE from the Queen. After a brief stint in prison at a young age, Justice turned her life around and dedicated it to helping young people. She launched Tru Life a magazine with the aim to empower youngsters in the community.
Mr and Miss Birmingham will also be mingling with guests on the red carpet.
A range of singers, magicians and a ‘Subconscious Surgeon’ will be on hand providing entertainment throughout the night.
Ms Bennett has said all the money raised will be divided between four charities. These are, the NSPCC, Breast Cancer Now, The Haven and UK-Cab.
Tickets are £45 each which include entertainment and a three-course meal. Kicking off at 6pm the festivities go on until 1am on Sunday morning. The Dress code is black tie
When asked how Zoe Bennett manages to juggle being a mother, business owner , author and fundraiser she answered: “It’s about having an ‘I can and I will’ belief. I love helping people”.
Ms Bennett was first inspired to create the MBCC Awards following her traumatic experiences when she was ruthlessly campaigning for justice after her father was murdered in Jamaica.
Mr Errol Bennett, who was a British Citizen, was on holiday in his homeland when he was mercilessly stabbed by a member of his own family.
Upon hearing of what took place Zoe launched a campaign against the Jamaican Government to have the killers put behind bars.
In the midst of the tragedy, Zoe suffered problems with her employers and subsequently was sacked by the Jamaican Tourist Board. Alongside a battle for her father, Zoe also had to face a court battle against her former employers. Thankfully she won her tribunal case for unfair dismissal.
In the meantime she was receiving death threats aiming to put her off her fight against justice. In the end she reached out to her local MP, Gavin Williamson for support.
The MBCC founder said: “I knew I was going to die, I said goodbye to my kids, my partner, everyone that was around me, everyone was trying to talk me out of it, I know that when I flew to Jamaica I would die.
“I was having death threats but there was a loophole in the case that if I didn’t come to Jamaica to give evidence the case would be quashed.”
But with her tenacious spirit would not let Zoe give up. She spent hours trawling the internet for anything that could help the case and win justice for her beloved father.
After a four-year fight, Bennett’s battle for justice was finally won as one of the perpetrators got 40 years to life in prison without parole thanks to MP Gavin Williamson’s intervention.
“I wanted to say thank you all these that supported and helped me through that time but didn’t want to do it with flowers or chocolates and so the MBCC awards was born”, Zoe Bennett said.
She added: “To keep costs low I’ve had to beg borrow and steal because I want this event to be accessible for the purpose of recognising the unsung hero for members of the community not just businesses.
“We are doing it for the people, by the people by getting as many people involved.
I wanted to prove that you can do things without an ulterior motive, if you say you are doing it for charity then do it for charity.”
When asked if she has any advice for black business owners in the Midlands she said: “We need to support each other, strength in numbers is the only way to get ahead. Segregation is a thing of the past as a collection we will be a lot stronger.
If we share our contacts and help one another with the contacts that we have we will grow.
As well and founding the MBCC awards Zoe has written a book called Networking Personified which was sold out within 14 hours of its release. She is holding a book launch on Monday 13 November, starting at 7pm at the Park Regis Hotel in Birmingham.
Ms Bennett has has another event in the pipeline aimed specifically at men within the community. Removing The Shame and Guilt is a men’s only conference for men who have suffered from physical or domestic abuse or who may be recovering from prostate cancer and need an arena where they feel safe to talk about their issues.
For more information about the awards click on the link below: