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Guarding

Black British Businesspeople of the Year

Pictured are Edgar Chibaka and Jamal Tahlil, who founded Leeds-based guarding contractor First Response Group (FRG). The two took the title of Black British Businesspeople of the Year, at this year’s Black British Business Awards (BBBAwards).

Now in its eighth year, the BBBAwards celebrate the achievements of black professionals and business owners in the UK. Recently FRG, an ACS Pacesetters guarding firm, was crowned as Recognised Service Provider Champion at the Living Wage Foundation Champion Awards, featured in the Sunday Times’ 10 Fast Track Ones to Watch. The company is sponsoring next month’s Security and Fire Excellence Awards, where it has been shortlisted in five categories, including Outsourced Security Individual or Team of the Year and Security Guarding Company of the Year over £25m turnover.

Mr Tahlil and Mr Chibaka, both East African immigrants, started the company – which provides security and facilities management services to the public and private sectors – in 2007; it now employs more than 500 people, and in July reported a sales turnover of £25m. In the process, the business which has AXA Insurance among customers, has made two acquisitions.

Last year, it was brought in by the University of Oxford to add to security at its Covid-19 research facility, as featured in the May print edition of Professional Security magazine. FRG was recommended for the work after earlier work for the university during the first, 2020 national lockdown.

Jamal said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have recognised for our combined achievements at the Black British Business Awards. To win Black British Businesspeople of the Year, the top prize, is simply incredible. We started our business from nothing, but with hard work and a shared vision it has now outgrown even our expectations. This award also recognises the dedication of our whole team, without whom we would not be where we are today – one of the leading names in the UK’s security and FM sectors.”

Edgar serves as Executive Board Chairman of the UK Malawi Business Group that fosters bilateral business between the UK and Malawi. He added: “I’d like to thank our colleagues at FRG for believing in our vision and running with it to consistently deliver fantastic and innovative customer experiences. To our customers, thank you for trusting 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 said: “It is 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 whilst acting as wise counsel for their investors, boards of directors and rising talent during the pandemic and period of social unrest. Congratulations again to all of this year’s winners and finalists.”

Visit https://www.firstresponsegroup.com/.


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