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Access My Events At The Small Business Sunday Event 2024

Theo Paphitis on the main stage

23rd February 2024

Access My Events attends their first Small Business Sunday #SBS event, organised by Theo and his team. This is an amazing opportunity for businesses in the #SBS community to network and meet with former and new winners. We share our journey from how it all started and what it meant to us to be in attendance among other amazing businesses, including hearing and meeting with #SBS creator himself, Theo Paphitis. 

About Small Business Sunday

On the 24th of July 2023, we entered the Small Business Sunday, #SBS, weekly competition on Twitter. This is one of the UK’s leading business networks, founded by Dragons Den star, Theo Paphitis. We didn’t expect to win and when it was announced that Access My Events was a winner of #SBS, we couldn’t believe it. As a winner of #SBS you get a boost on social media through Theo’s large social media following and you get to join a large community of small business owners with the opportunity to attend an annual event organised by Theo and his team.

Planning Our Journey

When the event date was announced for the 23rd of February, we were very excited and couldn’t wait to attend, being our first #SBS event. We started to plan our travel and book accommodation in advance. While doing this, the excitement was building to the day of the event. We decided to travel a day before so that we could take it easy and be there on time because it was a full day from 9.00am until 5.30pm. For the first time we booked passenger assistance for our journey from London Euston to Birmingham by train and both ways Zubee had the assistance with no problems.

When we arrived in Birmingham, we took an Uber to the hotel and the Uber had dropped us off at the wrong hotel because there were two hotels with the same name. When we eventually got to the right hotel we checked in and went to have a bit of a walk around to explore the area. For Zubee, it felt like a mini holiday because she has not had the opportunity to go out of London much and see some of the well-known shopping centres and restaurants in Birmingham. Event day had arrived, we took an Uber to the event venue, which was not very far and went straight to the reception area located on the 4th floor to get our name badge and were then taken into the hall to our reserved seats towards the front of the stage.

Event Day Highlights And What Went On

It was a real privilege to be among so many amazing businesses in the network from former and new winners. The event was opened on the main stage by guest speaker, Kypros Kyprianou, CEO of Theo Paphitis Group, followed by the creator of SBS himself, Theo Paphitis. It was amazing to hear him speak and how he started SBS, to it becoming a large community supporting small businesses. He said it’s all about planning for the week ahead and it was on a Sunday that he was sitting in Mrs Paphitis’s kitchen thinking how he could help entrepreneurs and small businesses because he knows how lonely the entrepreneurial journey can be. It was back in October 2010, that he created SBS, this being the 11th event, which has since grown with 4000 plus Small Business Sunday winners. 

It was interesting to hear some of the stats from Theo, on the winners with 80% being female and 53% sole traders. It was a very motivating and inspiring event with a lot to take away from the day with expert advice sessions from the SBS sponsors and partners, and breakout presentations throughout the day. The room was full of so much positive energy. There were many highlights from the event some of which are, hearing from Theo himself, a former SBS winner who turned an idea into a £1 million business, the Natwest panel of entrepreneurs talking about their journeys into entrepreneurship and business success to meeting with Theo and having our photo taken while being presented with our certificate.                                       

Access My Events with Theo

Special Fireside Chat Guest Stacey Solomon 

Finally, Theo welcomed Stacey Solomon to the stage for a fireside chat, followed by a Q&A. It was wonderful to hear about her journey from X Factor, presenting on TV, becoming an influencer with 6 million followers, to investing in her very first business, and what it means to her to support small businesses. It was the first time that the winners were so touched by a guest that Theo had to try and take control as she was getting side tracked during the Q&A, and some of the winners were getting very emotional while speaking to Stacey, and even giving her presents. She got off the stage and allowed the winners to take photos with her. It just showed how much Stacey's words meant to the winners.

You can read our article in the latest issue of Business Connect Magazine, which also features an interview with Theo about #SBS in the Press and Media section of our website. It was great to meet with the Business Connect team in person and to see our article in print at the event.

We would like to thank Theo for choosing and awarding Access My Events, to be part of this amazing network and we look forward to attending again next year.😊

If you are a business that would like to be in with a chance of winning, follow the link to our SBS Winners Blog to find out what it meant to us to be chosen as a winner and how you can enter for free. To see images from the event, go to the gallery page of our website.

Small Business Sunday Event 2024

23rd February 2024 ICC Birmingham

All Small Business Sunday winners get an invite to an annual event that is organised by Theo Paphitis and his team. It's an amazing opportunity to meet and network with like-minded business owners and get expert advice from the SBS partners and sponsors.

It was a real privilege for us to attend our very first #SBS event at the ICC in Birmingham on the 23rd of February. As a winner of SBS, we got the opportunity to meet with Theo and have a professional photo taken while being presented with our award. Below are some photos from the event.

Have a read of our blog about our SBS win and what it meant to us when it was announced that we were a winner, and how you can enter for free.

Overcoming Barriers To Being Awarded An MBE

Isaac podcast cover

17 February 2024

In the latest episode of My Voice Podcast, our founder and host Zubee speaks to her friend, Isaac Harvey MBE about his education, growing up with a disability, the challenges he faced, and how he overcame some of those challenges to achieve many amazing things, including carrying the Olympic torch to being awarded an MBE.

👉Listen now on Spotify Overcoming Barriers To Being Awarded An MBE

If you would like to be a guest on the show or would like a transcript of the recording, please email us at  myvoicepodcast1@gmail.com 

You can follow Isaac on LinkedIn

 

Lilac Review UK Launch Event

1st February 2024 at Lloyds Banking Group

We were excited to be invited to the launch of the Lilac Review by Small Business Britain and hosted by Lloyds Banking Group. This is a 2 year programme, which aims to break down barriers for disabled entrepreneurs in business. We heard a presentation about the review by Lloyds Banking Group and then from the Minister, followed by a panel discussion with 3 disabled founders led by, Michelle Ovens, Founder of Small Business Britain.

To learn more and get involved, follow the link The Lilac Review

Access My Events Speaks To My Voice Podcast Co Host On Modelling For The First Time

New episode podcast cover

23rd December 2023

In our latest episode, our founder, Zubee speaks to co-host Raya about her experience of being the first disabled person to model in an Asian Wedding Catwalk Show.
You can catch our previous episodes on Spotify, and join in the conversation by following our dedicated hashtag MyVoicePod.

National Asian Wedding Show Featured Disabled Model On The Catwalk For The First Time

NAWS Blog Post

1st December 2023

The Platinum Group, part of the National Asian Wedding Show made history by featuring a disabled model on the catwalk for the first time, and for our founder, Zubee it was a real privilege to be a part of that.

Zubee shares what the National Asian Wedding is about and what it meant to her to be part of the show. As someone who hasn't modelled before, Zubee was excited to be involved, representing disability on the catwalk and raising awareness in the fashion industry.

Zubee hopes her participation will encourage other event companies to consider making their events accessible and inclusive to deaf and disabled people and lead the way in making a change in the fashion world. We would love to see other event companies follow them and have disability represented in their shows.

The National Asian Wedding Show is Europe’s largest Asian wedding exhibition that takes place every year at different locations, held nationally. The show returned for it’s 18th year on Sunday the 26th of November 2023, at the Novotel London West, Hammersmith. This was an event not to be missed!

The show had a large number of wedding exhibitors and suppliers showcasing their products and services with inspirational ideas, to help you make your special day memorable. Alongside that, the event hosted a stunning catwalk show that featured the latest in Asian fashion trends.

It was a real privilege for Zubee to be the first disabled person to model in an Asian Wedding catwalk show, to represent disability in the fashion industry and to raise awareness. This was a huge step for the organisers to include a disabled model. To prepare for the big day, we attended rehearsals and outfit fittings on Friday 24th November. It was great for us to meet with the team and to see the work that goes on in front and behind the scenes.

For Zubee the fit and length of a garment can be tricky when looking for something to wear, whether that’s in Western or Asian clothes and she knows sourcing a suitable outfit was going to be a challenge for Manny's team as it was their first time having a disabled person model. With bridal wear especially, garments tend to be very long and a lot of designers don't cater for disabled people but Zubee was excited to see what the team had come up with for her specific needs and requirements. When she heard that they had managed to source her an outfit she couldn’t wait to see it and try it on. Zubee said, "I have always wanted to wear a bridal outfit just to see what it would look like and I never thought it would be possible because of how long and big they are."

Zubee loved the experience of being able to model for the first time even though she was nervous because she didn’t know how the audience would react but once she was out on the runway, the sound of the audience applause, the lighting and the cameras down the catwalk just made Zubee feel amazing and she couldn’t believe she was modelling in a designer’s wedding outfit. Zubee would like to thank Reena, the designer of the outfit she wore and giving her the opportunity to walk for Pannaz Boutique. 

We feel the show has led the way to making a change in the fashion industry and getting conversations going as we’ve seen by the reactions and comments across our social media. Zubee would like to say a huge thank you to Manny and his wonderful team for giving us this amazing opportunity and for their help and support in making her look and feel amazing. Zubee said, "I don't usually like to put makeup on unless it's necessary and going down the catwalk with my hair and make-up done was out of my comfort zone because I'm very self-conscious, but doing this gave me a boost in my confidence."

Zubee wore a beautifully styled red blouse and skirt (Lengha) with golden embroidery and a matching scarf (dupatta). The skirt Zubee wore had to be pinned up quite a lot from the bottom so she was able to walk in it comfortably and not trip over as it was a bit heavy and she was worried it wouldn’t work. The dupatta also had to be pinned up in a way to make it easy for her. The team did a really good job in making sure it worked for Zubee on her crutches.

                                             Zubee is on the catwalk

Outfit by Pannaz Botique
Hair and Makeup by Geet Soni Academy 
Jewellery by Aartist Jewellery
Styled by Mirza Miah & Shiv Rura
Photography by ELREM Foundation

As organisers of one of the most anticipated Asian wedding shows in the UK, Platinum Group took a ground-breaking step towards inclusivity in the fashion world. In a move that underscores our commitment to celebrating diversity, we are thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Access My Events founder, Zubee Kibria who walked the catwalk at The National Asian Wedding Show on Sunday 26th November at Novotel London West, Hammersmith.

The fashion industry has long been associated with conventional standards of beauty, but we believe it’s time for a change. By featuring disabled models, we are making a statement that beauty transcends physical abilities and that everyone deserves to feel glamorous and confident. We want to redefine beauty standards and challenge preconceived notions.

Our decision to include a disabled model on the catwalk is not merely about making a statement; it’s about genuine representation. We firmly believe that everyone should be able to see themselves in the fashion world, and this move is a step towards making that vision a reality, Manny, Founder of the Platinum Group.

After the show, it was lovely to hear a compliment from a member of the public and to see so many more lovely comments on social media, which Zubee has been really touched by, with some making her a bit emotional just reading them. We have included a few of them below. 

We were super proud to be a part of history being created. A huge congratulations to Manny and the team at Platinum Group for pushing the boundaries by showcasing a disabled model on the fashion runway. We are proud sponsors of Europe's largest Asian Wedding Show.

Game changing moment for the industry – well done for leading the way.

Love this! Amazing work and also such a beautiful model

What is the name of the model? She’s gorgeous and should be tagged and celebrated!

Wow! What a heartwarming moment to witness she’s beautiful from the inside and out, giving a chance to all women to showcase their beauty on the runway, is truly inspiring.

My eyes filled up as she was passing the stage.

Amazing motivation for a lot of us. Thank you for breaking these barriers and giving people like us hope and not to give up.

Love this. We need more of it!

Love this. Thank you for breaking down norms and bringing in diversity in this industry which has been neglected for the longest time ever.

Zubee said, "I can't help but feel like a celebrity after all the attention the posts shared have been getting on social media and the level of engagement and awareness getting out there." 😃 

If you are a company interested in making your events accessible, please get in touch with us to find out more! 

                                           

To see some more photos and videos from the show, please go to the gallery section of our website and visit our Instagram page.

We are already looking forward to next year’s show. To find out more about their upcoming events, please visit the National Asian Wedding Show Website.

National Asian Wedding Show 2023

National Asian Wedding Show Logo

26th November 2023 Novotel London West Hammersmith

The National Asian Wedding Show is Europe’s largest Asian wedding exhibition that takes place every year at different locations, held nationally. The show returned for it’s 18th year on Sunday the 26th of November 2023, at the Novotel London, Hammersmith. This was an event not to be missed!

The show had a large number of wedding exhibitors and suppliers showcasing their products and services with inspirational ideas, to help you make your special day memorable. The event hosted a stunning catwalk show that featured the latest in Asian fashion trends.

Our founder, Zubee was excited to be part of this amazing show and to model for the first time. Through Access My Events, the aim is to make events accessible and inclusive as possible to disabled people, and being part of this show was a groundbreaking step forward in breaking down barriers in the fashion industry. It was the first that an Asian wedding show featured a disabled person as one of their models.

It was great for us to see all the work that goes on in front and behind the scenes to put on a show of this scale. We would like to thank Manny and his wonderful team for giving us the opportunity to raise awareness of disability and to show that disabled people can look and feel as glamorous as non-disabled people. Zubee would like to thank everyone behind the scenes for their help and support in making her look and feel amazing! 

We hope that our participation will encourage other event companies to consider using our services to make their events accessible and inclusive to the disabled community and use disabled people to model in their shows. 

Head over to our Instagram page to see some videos and behind the scenes footage.

We are looking forward to next year's show. For upcoming shows, please visit the National Asian Wedding Show Website.

 

 

National Asian Wedding Show

National Asian Wedding Show Logo

The National Asian Wedding Show is Europe’s largest Asian wedding exhibition that takes place every year at different locations, held nationally. 

The show has a large number of wedding exhibitors and suppliers showcasing their products and services with inspirational ideas, to help you make your special day memorable. The event hosts a stunning catwalk show that features the latest in Asian fashion trends.

British Asian Women's Awards 2023 Finalist

Finalist Logo

October 2023

Our founder, Zubee is delighted and honoured to be a finalist for the British Asian Women's Awards 2023, in the Community Achievement of the Year category. This totally came by surprise and it was something she was not expecting at all, not only that, this is the first time she has been nominated. Zubee would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who took their time and voted for her, it really means a lot!

Zubee would like to thank Oceanic Consulting for shining a light on the many individuals who strive daily to make a positive impact in the ethnic minority community. Award ceremonies such as this, not only recognise contributions but also inspire countless others to drive change. The awards will be held on the 13th of December, and we look forward to attending.

Zubee says, "I love awards such as this, that reconise the public for their contributions instead of the focus always being on celebrities."

 

Small Business Sunday Winner

SBS winners badge

24th July 2023

Small Business Sunday is one of the leading business networks in the UK, founded by Dragons Den star, Theo Paphitis in 2010. It’s an amazing opportunity for businesses to gain exposure and connect with other business owners through Theo’s large social media following, including all the winners getting an invite to the SBS annual networking event, which we're really looking forward to next year.

Our founder Zubee shares what the SBS community is about, how you can enter, and what it means for us to be one of the 6 lucky winners chosen by Theo and his team.

Wow! Access My Events is delighted and honoured to be a Small Business Sunday winner. (#SBS). Zubee  says, "I couldn't believe I was chosen to be part of this amazing network."🙂

Zubee didn't even know this existed until she saw a post on LinkedIn from one of the previous winners. After reading the post, it sounded like a really exciting opportunity that we had to enter and we were not expecting to win. On the 24th of July, Access My Events put a post out on Twitter and tweeted Theo about our business during Small Business Sunday. It was a huge surprise when we saw that we were one of 6 lucky winners to be chosen and get retweeted by Theo, to over half a million of his Twitter followers.

During the announcement on Monday, our Twitter feed went crazy as our follower numbers went from 187 to 196, and has now reached over 200 followers. We are also profiled on the #SBS website (www.theopaphitissbs.com), which is exclusive to all Small Business Sunday winners.

As the saying goes, we were second time lucky and as Theo says, if you don't get chosen, don't give up, keep entering each week as you never know when your chance will come, and be resilient as that's what entrepreneurship is all about. It has given us such a boost and it will help to raise awareness of our brand even further and expand our network so we can continue making a difference for deaf and disabled people accessing events. 

Zubee says, "I would like to say a huge, thank you to Theo and his team for this amazing opportunity. I have had many challenges and setbacks to get my business going. To receive this recognition and have the support from Theo to help spread the word to his followers has really motivated and inspired me to keep perusing my business goals."

If you are a business that would like to be in with a chance of winning, here's how you can enter. It's FREE. Businesses have to write and create a post on Twitter or Instagram, that shows your personality and include a bit about your business, using #SBS and following @TheoPaphitis. It’s run on a weekly basis every Sunday. Entries need to be posted between 5pm and 7.30pm. Theo chooses his favourite 6 businesses and announces the winners on Monday at 8pm. To find out more, follow the link  Home | www.theopaphitissbs.com.

Here are some lovely comments we received.

Congrats on your win! Welcome to the #SBS family! Love this idea!

Sounds like a really worthwhile business, Zubee - I used to manage a charity organising social events for adults with disabilities. Everybody wants to go out, mingle and have fun - let's make it easier and possible!

What you do is so incredible! I look forward to learning more!

We look forward to learning more and networking with other businesses and like-minded individuals who are part of this amazing community.

To follow our #SBS journey, please keep an eye on our blog and connect with us across our social media channels for the latest news and updates.