2017 crowned Octavian with successful growth and business contracts

Octavian UK, has had an amazing year in 2017, with Reshma Sheikh taking over as UK Managing Director in July 2017, reincarnation of their UK Security / FM arm, gaining ACS / ISO 9001 accreditations – all in less than 6 months.
However, most exciting has been their growth and tripling of their business, by gaining national contracts with a leading logistics port, shipping & vehicle distribution management service and the largest commercial real estate company in the world.

To find out more about Octavian, please visit their website

Supplier Diversity in Germany | Blog by Surja Bose (Pt.2)



“How many guests are you expecting today?” Eleonora from the Migration Hub Network asked me as she was switching on the giant heaters in the room. The venue was located within the “Alte Münze”, the mint factory from the 1930s, at a time when “Germany belongs to Germans” was the slogan of the nation. Today the same building provides a co-working space for migrant entrepreneurs and is a symbol for diversity, inclusion and social innovation.

“Around 80 to 100,” I replied. We had around 120 confirmed attendees, however experience showed that around 20-25% do not show up at the end. It was 8:30am in the morning on the 21st November and the room was filling up quickly with delegates who were ready to take part in the first European Supplier Diversity Conference in Berlin. Networking had already started in those early morning hours with the usual swapping of business cards and phone numbers. The room had a true mixture of guests; minority/migrant-businesses from Germany and the UK, large corporates, associations, politicians, academics, lawyers etc. The next time I looked at my watch, it was almost 9am. I waved across the room to Mayank and pointed to my watch to indicate that we should start. He raised his hand and spread his fingers in a gesture to tell me “in 5 minutes”. From this point onwards, time just flew by!

Mayank Shah, the CEO and Founder of MSDUK, opened the event by giving the audience some background about MSDUK and its 11-year journey so far. More importantly, he set the scene by talking about the importance of Supplier Diversity and Inclusive Procurement and how innovation has also become one of the main vehicles in driving diversity forward. He then introduced Cemile Giousouf, former Integration Commissioner of the CDU Party, who started by saying “although many global companies already implement supplier diversity programs – Germany still needs to catch up.” Cemile continued her speech discussing the economic importance of migrant-run businesses in Germany and how the country needed to develop advisory services catered specifically for migrants.

Kai Nowosel, the CPO of Accenture, held the Sponsor’s Address and started with a candid overview of Accenture’s procurement priorities. “This is what we mainly buy…” he said, as he listed the services and products that were of main importance to the company. He then went on to explain Accenture’s Supplier Inclusion and Sustainability Ecosystem and concluded discussing the challenges faced by both diverse suppliers and large corporations as well as the possible solutions to overcome these. To me, this was an eye-opener. Kai managed to elegantly communicate this complex subject in a simple yet insightful way using examples and anecdotes.

The Keynote speaker of the day was Philippe Legrain, Founder of the Open Political Economy Network. I had already listened to his Ted Talk and several other discussions and lectures on YouTube and thought that he would probably re-use some of that content in his speech. To my surprise, he took a completely different approach and talked about the importance of diversity by highlighting a series of truly fascinating examples – from Silicon Valley to the German national football team!

Read the final part of this three part blog in the March Newsletter.

To read Part One, please click here


25% discount off price of any website or app audit with Braille Translations

Braille Translations Limited are specialists in accessibility and translations, who have been providing accessibility services since early 2000.

Until the end of April 2017 Braille Translations are offering a 25% discount off the price of any website or app audit for MSDUK members (Price dependent on website or app).

The audit contains a full report of your website or app containing recommendations for action to be taken.


How to claim

To claim the 25% discount, call Braille Translations directly on 0800 0190946 quoting reference MSDUK50351.

To find out more about Braille Translations, please visit their website

Website Accessibility: Why is it good for business?

What is website accessibility?

If a website or app is designed correctly everyone has equal access to the information and functionality. Web accessibility is the inclusive process of removing barriers that prevent access to or interaction with websites by people with disabilities.

For example when web content contains text descriptions of images and links named meaningfully this helps blind users using text-to-speech software and/or text-to-braille hardware.  Larger fonts and larger images, which could be made larger are easier for poorly sighted individuals to read.  Having large clickable link areas makes it easier for people with fine motor difficulties who have trouble controlling a mouse. Videos including a sign language version mean that deaf people are able to understand the video and using instructional illustrations may help people with cognitive difficulties.

Ultimately web accessibility aims to include visual, motor/mobility, auditory, seizures and cognitive/intellectual.  If websites are built, developed and maintained correctly all of these users can be accommodated without impacting the usability of the website or app for non-disabled users.

In 1999 the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) published the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), this was updated in 2008.  The WCAG is widely acceptable as the standard to achieve website accessibility.

So what exactly are the guidelines? In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 sets out guidelines making it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities.  The act applies to anyone providing a service, be that in the public, private or voluntary sectors, and the accompanying Codes of Practice document accompanying the Act makes it clear that websites are one of the services to the public which should be covered by the Act.

Within the EU a draft law endorsed by the European Parliament stated that all websites managed by public sector bodies have to be made accessible to all.

The WCAG 2.0 based upon a set of four principles:

  • Information and user interface must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive
  • User interface components and navigation must be operable
  • Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable
  • Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

Aside from legal compliance there is good reason to ensure your website is accessible.  Accessible websites have access to the full range of the market, which is approximately 20% more than non-accessible websites.  Greater exposure leads to greater opportunity for awareness of your business and ultimately sales.  It can help to give your business the edge over competitors who do not currently have accessible websites.

So, how do you know if your website is accessible?  The WCAG covers 65 testable criteria.

Having a website accessibility audit can be a good option to evaluate where you are today with your website and if you’re not already fully accessible, what you need to do achieve to become accessible.

Braille Translations Limited are specialists in accessibility and translations, who have been providing accessibility services since early 2000.

Until the end of April 2017 Braille Translations are offering a 25% discount off the price of any website or app audit.  (Price dependent on website or app). The audit contains a full report of your website or app containing recommendations for action to be taken. To claim the 25% discount, call 0800 0190946 quoting reference MSDUK50351.


Think Ambient work with s.Oliver to create an interactive retail campaign

Think Ambient banner

Case Study by Think Ambient

Think Ambient regularly work with s.Oliver in Germany. s.Oliver is a German fashion company with retail shops worldwide. They wanted to create a unique, interactive and eye-catching competition for shoppers to increase footfall and to create a buzz around their stores.

Challenge: s.Oliver required us to provide a material that was easy to apply, easy to remove and damage free with a backer that could be printed.

Solution: We recommended STX, our unique self-adhesive vinyl with a low tack removable adhesive. The advantage of STX is that it can be used to create a 3D effect by scoring the backer, as demonstrated in the pictures. This attribute makes it easy for shoppers to peel off the sticker from the window, replace the backer and take in to a participating store. Depending on which emoji was printed on the backer picked up, shoppers could win a voucher worth €5, €10, €20 or a surprise amount.

These campaigns created excitement around the stores and s.Oliver regularly create similar seasonal campaigns. As with all our products STX is easy to apply, easy to remove and damage free. No damage or sticky residue was left on the windows of the stores. If you would like to view these pictures in more detail please view our Flickr gallery, or request some free samples.

For more information please contact: info@thinkambient.co.uk.


Kanban saves Northampton Academy 50% on their printing costs


LOCATION: Northampton, UK

INDUSTRY: Education

 SIZE: Medium


SERVICES RENDERED: pMPS Contract, Hardware Improvements, Supplies Management



Northampton Academy is a mixed secondary school and sixth form, with 1,430 students aged 11 to 18. It was opened as part of the Labour government’s education reform and received a visit from former Prime Minister Tony Blair describing it as “one of the most amazing schools in the country”.

Print challenges:

  • High-cost and time-consuming ink/toner purchases.
  • Inflexible and expensive contracts.
  • Inefficient use of devices – wrong machine in the wrong environment
  • Reactive consumables replenishment means running out at the wrong time



Schools typically produce a lot of waste printing and without constant monitoring and efficiency testing, costs can add up. Kanban Solutions software sat within Northampton Academy’s printer fleet, determining where best to make changes and improvements.

Ink/Toner usage and delivery is a key aspect to our managed print strategy. Consolidated forecasting transformed the daily hit or miss guesswork into targeted & precise ordering information for what was needed where & when.

 “Our issues were based around supplies and finding the cheapest possible prices for original consumables, it was time consuming and expensive.”

Lance Rumbolt, IT Support

In addition, Northampton Academy was supplied with 50 new HP LaserJet printers at significantly reduced cost. Each device was installed and set-up on-site by a HP qualified technician and supplied with HP original Ink/Toner.



Northampton Academy saved £7,500 a year, with staff spending their time teaching not clearing paper jams or waiting for printer support.

“We’ve halved our printing costs, a resounding success”

Lance Rumbolt, IT Support

Once implemented our software joined all our client’s machines together into one coherent system. Northampton Academy benefited from HP’s device control centre helping monitor all print outlay costs and any maintenance issues.

 “The amount of work involved now is pure admin and much easier to manage. We love the auto ordering of ink and the info we get from HP.”

Lance Rumbolt, IT Support

Improved printers such as the HP LaserJet MFP’s enabled the school to increase efficiency and reduce cost. Benchmarks show that users can create high-quality colour documents for up to 50 per cent lower cost per page than with previous models.

“This is an excellent service and if anyone asks I am evangelical about it. It’s saved us money and time and we are very happy with it.”

Lance Rumbolt, IT Support



Kanban has helped over 500 organisations manage their printers, supplies and contracts better. Customers with anything from 1 to 5000 devices, in the UK or internationally.

Whether your organisation is under contract, or buys transactionally, Kanban’s approach will save time, drive out wastage, improve management reporting and reduce cost.




HARDLY ANY SME THROUGHOUT the UK doesn’t allot some expense toward marketing strategies. However, recent marketing data shows that an integrated approach to marketing is equivalent to higher ROI every time. It’s like betting on a winning team, a no-risk shot at success. One sure bet in the UK is Blackjack Media, a full-service digital and marketing agency headquartered in Birmingham that delivers winning results.

For over 15 years, this award-winning marketing agency has garnered the affections of UK businesses and was listed as one of the top three marketing agencies in Dudley, West Midlands in 2017. With those kind of credentials, it’s easy to see why Blackjack Media has risen to stardom among the ranks and has been distinguishing itself as a champ in the industry.
The secret to its success? Blackjack Media focuses on four core service areas of strategic, creative, digital marketing, and data analytics. By optimising them and integrating them for the best possible solutions to each client’s unique business needs, Blackjack Media can generate higher conversions, more exposure, more product sales and a leading edge in the online realm.


– Mani Sharma, Managing Director of Blackjack Media


Not just a one-trick pony, Blackjack Media has been around long enough to know what works and how to achieve results using its proven method. Looking at the results of its labour, it’s much easier to see. For Lets Move In Estate Agents, a brand new mobile responsive website with a cutting-edge property search interface and other advanced functions allowed data to be sent directly to the UK’s largest property portals like Zoopla Property Group. This strategy netted more website traffic for the client while creating a more user-friendly website. Understanding the needs of the client as well as those of the client serves translated to a winning outcome.

PrecisionFM was another client that came out ahead thanks to Blackjack Media. By developing a clear and defined brand strategy for them, the PrecisionFM brand was able to grow into a global market and gain sales around the world.
Thanks to the success of working with Alachi Restaurant with the creation of a revolutionary social media management dashboard and mobile app, Blackjack Media is launching a brand new online platform called ClickDine in February 2018 that will provide effective marketing support to businesses in the food and drink sector including bars, cafes, restaurants, delis, pubs, and takeaways to name a few.

Additionally, by streamlining the project process to utilise their teams in both their Asian offices and local UK offices, the quality of work provided is unparalleled while at the same time being a fraction of the cost of many other UK agencies. The devotion to provide award-winning design and service as well as speedy delivery and technical support is an incredible bargain, one that UK businesses shouldn’t miss out on when seeking to better their businesses.
It truly does take money to make money, but when that cash is invested wisely into a venture such as working with a solidly-founded marketing agency like Blackjack Media, it is money well-spent. It’s also money that comes back in the form of greater profits and market share, something that is virtually priceless.

For more information on Blackjack Media or to schedule a consultation, call 0121 736 0352 or email hello@blackjackmedia.co.uk.

Equality Pioneers offer MSDUK members discounted mindfulness Spanish break

Spain 1

Blog by Ishreen Bradley, Equality Pioneers


Join this very special holiday in our delightful mountain village in Al Mariah, Spain – an opportunity for you to relax, rejuvenate and create a new lifestyle that will provide you with renewed energy, freedom and a powerful, authentic sense of who you really are.


As well as having an amazing holiday, we have arranged optional visits to an old Moorish castle, an olive farm and the world’s leading research centre for wind and solar energy…oh and of course the stunning local seaside beach.


There are two charming hamaams in the village where you can pamper yourself… but most of all, you can benefit from our 4D approach to creating a new lifestyle free from those anxious moments, fear, palpitations and sleepless nights caused by pressure of work, worries about your financial future or your physical and mental well being.


You will have the opportunity to:

  • DETOX: explore fresh, nourishing food that nurtures your body whilst increasing your knowledge of how to cleanse, nurture and strengthen from the inside out. Blend with rejuvenating visits to the local Hammams for relaxation and combine with enjoyable activities that fuse fitness with mindfulness to ensure a whole and holistic detox.


  • DE-STRESS through active and contemplative heartfulness meditation – reaching beyond the separation of thoughts and feelings to an integrated connection and intuitive understanding of your place in the world.


  • DEVELOP STRENGTH by uncovering and owning the ‘Authentic You’. Become clear about your passions, your purpose and your unique contribution to the world around you.  Connect deeply with your values and what you want for your future life and lifestyle.


  • DISCOVER that it is possible to create a new way of living that works even with the hustle and bustle of modern life. Explore how ancient traditions and modern technology have blended to provide innovative and sustainable solutions…and reflect on how you can bring these ingenious principles into your own life.


As this is a first initiative, we are offering this specially designed all-inclusive programme for £1400 instead of £2000 to people in our networks, including an initial booking fee of just £250…giving our time to you as a special gift.

(*Please note: This offer is open to MSDUK and WeConnect members only)


If you would like to have a 20 minute call to explore how joining us with a select group of no more than twelve like minded men and women on this life changing holiday could benefit you, email: ishreen@equalitypioneers.com or call her on her mobile: 07734 209809.

About Equality Pioneers

Equality Pioneers enable you and your organisation to develop a sustainable sense of parity and equality for all – resulting in mindsets and systems that deliver a culture of opportunity through excellence at work.

Our programmes help dissolve individual and systemic barriers to success, unleashing world-class performance from people who are ‘different from the norm’.

  • Individuals and groups join our in-house and open programmes to go beyond superficial development to transform long term, deeply held beliefs, behaviours and barriers (that have inhibited progress to date) into inspiring new opportunities.
  • System diagnostics and transformation programmes engage key stakeholders to appreciate and create a culture of equality that expands overall employee satisfaction and productivity, enabling a higher return on investment from your best talent.


Benefits of working with us:

– Improved confidence and resilience for individuals and teams

– Effective collaboration between different ‘sub-cultures’ in your organisation

– Increased innovation, productivity and bottom line by strengthening the contribution of difference through adaptive systems and cultures.


To explore further:

Call: 0203 362 2940

Email: info@paritypioneers.com




MSDUK Conference and Awards is back- 2018 will be bigger and better!


Conference image banner

The much anticipated MSDUK Conference and Awards returns for its 6th year in 2018, looking to be bigger and better at its new location in Birmingham. The conference, previously held in Central London, has moved to the cultural heart of the Midlands and will take place at the brand new and technologically advanced VOX Conference Centre from Tuesday 25th – Wednesday 26th September 2018. (Click here to add our iCalendar to your Outlook)

The move provides a more central location for businesses and corporates alike who are based in all four corners of the country and the venue will provide excellent  transport links, by air, road and rail,  accommodating both national and  international guests.

Why come/ who is attending?

The 2 day event is a must-attend conference for Ethnic Minority Businesses (EMBs) and Corporations looking to drive inclusive procurement and connect with diverse like minded buisnessmen and women. Considered one of the biggest event in the UK championing supply chain diversity and inclusion, MSDUK 2018 Conference will attract over 700 attendees including C-Suite corporate leaders representing some of the household corporate brands, 100s of procurement professionals, global diversity & inclusion leaders, policy makers, business delegations from the US, Australia, Canada, South Africa, China and from across Europe, and 100s of innovative and successful ethnic minority businesses from across the UK.

Never attended one if our conferences? Watch our 2016 Conference & Awards video here.


What to expect this year?

  • Full day Business Exhibition with breakout Meet The Buyer sessions and silent workshops by industry experts
  • Knowledge Forum- a day of sharing best practice, knowledge exchange and engaging debate with innovative business leaders, senior procurement professionals and famous faces from the political and media world.
  • The well received Innovation Challenge-a business competition launched last year attracting some of the cutting edge innovation from ethnic minority entrepreneurs
  • The glittering Business Awards Dinner hosted by a celebrity MC, offering unlimited entertainment, mouth watering food from around the world and recognising corporations and entrepreneurs for excellence, innovation and growth!
  • Welcoming our International delegates for a quintessentially British trip to Stratford Upon Avon to experience the life of William Shakespeare at the Shakespeare Centre.
  • Ample opportunity to network and connect in and around the VOX Conference Centre and Resorts World, the outlet shopping hub of the West Midlands, offering various new and exciting, entertainment and treatment facilities including IMAX Cinema and Genting Casino.


Key Dates

Wednesday 14th March 2018, 9am



Thursday 15th May 2018 5pm


Registration opensBusiness Awards application/ nominations open


Business Awards application/ nominations close



For all available sponsorship packages/ questions about sponsorship including business sponsorship, please contact Raj Pattani, Business Relationship Director at raj@msduk.org.uk


More information

To keep up to date with news about this year’s conference, please follow MSDUK on Twitter and LinkedIn.

In addition, the official website is due to be launched in February/March

Join MSDUK at this year’s Supply Nation Connect 2018 conference



MSDUK are delighted to announce that Mayank Shah, our CEO, will be attending this year’s Connect 2018 Conference. MSDUK are proud to be a part of the GSDA network and continues to work with global  corporations in making supply chain diversity and inclusion part of their everyday business.

The annual event, organised by our GSDA partner Supply Nation,  is Australia’s largest supplier diversity event. Over 2 days in May 2018, (22nd – 23rd) Supply Nation will hold an annual Knowledge Forum, Indigenous Business Tradeshow & Gala Awards Dinner in Sydney. The Awards recognise companies, government agencies and individuals who are helping create a prosperous, vibrant and sustainable Indigenous business sector.

Speakers will include supplier diversity champions such as 2017’s Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year Kristal Kinsela, Cassandra Dorrington of CAMSC and our own CEO Mayank Shah.

What’s  new for Connect 2018?

  • With over 1400 businesses on Indigenous Business Direct, and over 325 corporate, government and NFP members, the 2018 Connect conference is going to be the biggest yet!
  • For the past two years the conference has seen more than a 20% growth in exhibitors at the tradeshow; the show provides the perfect opportunity to diversify your supply chain with over 170 Indigenous Businesses from across the country expected to exhibit.
  • Based on feedback from last year, Supply Nation have dramatically reduced the cost for buyers to attend the tradeshow; in addition, opening hours have been extended  from 8.30am until 3.30pm  in order for attendees to conduct more business!

Important dates

Wednesday, 28th February, 2018Friday, 1st May 2018 Early-bird ticket pricing period endsTicket sales close for Knowledge Forum and Gala Awards Dinner tickets.

If you would like to attend Supply Nation’s Connect 2018 with MSDUK, please contact Mayank Shah at mayank@msduk.org.uk for details.

For more information, please visit the Connect 2018 website and/or Supply Nation’s website