Asian Business Connexions

Asian Business Connexions announces headline sponsor

The landmark tenth anniversary of the Asian Business Connexions (ABC) Awards will be bigger and better than ever this year, thanks to a new headline sponsor.

County Durham-based Great Annual Savings Group (GAS) has worked with ABC members for more than two years and, having supported the event for its eighth and ninth years, has become headline sponsor for 2019.

The sponsorship will allow organiser Ammar Mirza CBE and his associates at ABC to make the celebration of diversity and success the biggest yet.

The event will take place on Thursday 3 October 2019 at the Grand Hotel, Gosforth Park, Newcastle, and will showcase the significant contribution of the Asian community across the public, private and third sectors, together with more than 350 guests.

The finalists for the awards will be made up of winners from the event’s last nine years, celebrating the cream of the crop from ABC’s involvement in North East business.

Ammar Mirza CBE, Chairman and Founder of Asian Business Connexions, said: “The ABC Awards are all about recognising and celebrating the significant and sustained contribution of the Asian community and I’d like to thank GAS for their support as a forward-thinking business in the North East.

“I always say we don’t shout about how unique we are in our region enough, so I’d like to thank GAS’ CEO Brad Groves and Director Phil Andrew, with whom I’ve worked for a couple of years, for their help in doing so this year.

“Phil understands our network and is linking in with a lot of our members to add value and help them develop in a challenging economic climate.

“That’s why events like this are so important.  We need to celebrate our successes and show the world what a vibrant, diverse and exciting community we have in the North East.  I’m also thrilled to announce a focus on recognising diversity within North East organisations and enterprising Asian women for this year’s event.  We’ll be proudly utilising the hashtag ‘#AWEsome’ in and around the awards, which stands for ‘Asian Women Entrepreneurs’.”

Phil Andrew, Associate Director of Customer Experience at GAS, said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the last two awards dinners and have left feeling inspired, both by the event itself and the people it honours.

“We’ve supported the event to raise the profile of the work we’ve done with ABC members and I’m looking forward to getting to know more about the success stories we’ll hear in October.

“I’m proud of what we’ve done to help ABC members reduce their outgoing costs and hope we can partner with more in the future to enhance some of the thriving businesses involved with ABC.”

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.