The Portsmouth Bangladesh Business Association (PBBA) was launched with a blaze of activity in 2019 and was the driving force behind the city’s first official trade, investment and education mission to the country. Twenty-six delegates travelled overseas to explore better links and the visit culminated in the official signing of the twin city arrangement between Portsmouth and Sylhet.
But the association’s annual general meeting heard this week that the Covid-19 pandemic seriously curtailed opportunities to build on this shining start.
The PBBA focused its efforts instead on community activities - working with Pompey in the Community to feed those in need, supporting students and fundraising for the homeless.
But the association is now looking forward to a post-Covid - and post-Brexit - future and to sunnier days ahead, much like the blue skies and warm weather which greeted guests as they arrived for the meeting in the Gaiety Bar on South Parade Pier on Monday.
Among the association’s goals for 2022 are to:Encourage better communication between businesses and local diverse community groups;Find ways to encourage local businesses to buy from one another;Support female entrepreneurship;Lead another trade mission to Bangladesh;Develop ways to encourage businesses to adopt more green policies and work towards net zero.Develop fundraising, education and awareness programmes and offer support through workshops and training;Increase active membership.
Chairman Raja Ali said: ‘We are always looking for help and I would ask everyone to get involved by joining one of the sub-committees or simply volunteering their time. Everyone has unique skills and talent that can be brought to the PBBA and nurtured to improve and develop the activities to support our community.’
Looking out of the windows to the blue skies and shimmering seas of the city he added: ‘We do this because we believe in Portsmouth and we love Portsmouth. This is our community.’