For 2023, the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards (MKBAA) has chosen a theme fitting for the first awards since Milton Keynes was awarded official city status by Queen Elizabeth II, as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this year.
Celebrating Diversity will underpin the awards in 2023, recognising and celebrating all our differences throughout the business and wider local community. According to census data from 1991, the number of people of colour living in Milton Keynes was just 6% of the population. Subsequent data from the 2001 census showed that this number had doubled to 13%; and had doubled again to 26%, by 2011.
With data from the 2021 Census due to be published, it is widely thought that the percentage of people of colour living within the unitary authority of Milton Keynes will have reached the high thirties. This statistic marks Milton Keynes as one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the UK.
The theme for this year’s awards was a central reason why Milton Keynes City Council has committed to be one of the Headline Sponsors for the eighth year. During 2022, Milton Keynes City Council has been centrally involved in a number of key events helping to champion the diversity cause across the city.
In July, Milton Keynes welcomed the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, hosting four games at Stadium MK. A key part of the tournament being hosted in England was the legacy that it would create, opening up the national game to more women and girls from a range of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, encouraging them to not only come and watch the matches but to engage with the sport in their local communities. Milton Keynes City Council has worked closely with the football authorities to make sure this legacy continues.
In October, the third Milton Keynes City of Codes & Light Festival took place across the city. Organised by Milton Keynes Islamic Arts & Culture in partnership with other cultural organisations and including Milton Keynes City Council, the five-day festival aimed to showcase MK’s innovation and technological history through a programme of live events, digital installations and workshops.
The festival culminated in a huge free event in the city centre which saw Islamic symbols and artwork (created by students at Milton Keynes College) projected on to the city’s main church, a parade of music and light which saw the local community come together, and it finished with a live music show in Station Square showcasing the rich diversity of music and culture that resides in the city. Milton Keynes City Council was pivotal in bringing the event together to celebrate the new city status but to also capture the mood in MK which has a ‘mosaic of communities, united by a love of where we live’.
These events are not the only way that Milton Keynes City Council has moved to be more inclusive. Earlier this year, they announced that two new councillor roles, an LGBTQI+ and ethnic minority champion, will be introduced to encourage a more equal, diverse and inclusive city. The roles will be created as part of the newly agreed Council Plan, following discussions with all party group leaders. These champions will attend various events across the city to provide civic representation. The council champions will also advocate for issues that are faced by LGBTQI+ and ethnic minority communities.
Another activity recently announced, is the appointment of diversity champions within the council’s own workforce, who will champion change from within, help colleagues speak up and challenge stereotypes. It wants all employees to recognise the realities and experiences of people with different backgrounds and characteristics than them.
Councillor Robin Bradburn, Deputy Leader of MK City Council, said: “One of the many things that makes our city so great is its diversity. Around one in three children in our secondary schools is from an ethnic minority background, and 140 languages are spoken in our schools. The theme for this year’s Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards goes right to the heart of our vision for communities to promote equality and inclusivity for all.”
Nick Mann, Chair of MKBAA organisers Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership, added: “Businesses have an important role to play in bringing diversity and inclusion into the mainstream – it needs to be talked about at the highest level. Diversity has been rising up the agenda for many years but now organisations of all sizes need to be encouraged to recognise the benefits that a strong diversity and inclusion strategy can have on their business. The awards in 2023 aim to champion our growing diverse population in Milton Keynes and how it can be harnessed.”
Entries are now open across 14 different categories from Innovation and Professional Services through to Leisure & Entertainment and Technology. Entry is very simple and is open to any business with an MK postcode. Entries close on November 18, 2022.
Every year, MKBAA is grateful for the support of the sponsors and partners to enable this celebration of the Milton Keynes business community to take place. There are a few award category sponsorships still available, so if your company or organisation is interested, email email@example.com
Tables bookings for the awards night on March 23, 2023 at Stadium MK are now available. Visit the website for full details.