The Voice wins best-media award
Gordon Gilmour, Voice Writer
The Voice newspaper has been named Media House of the Year at an awards ceremony celebrating African businesses.
The African Enterprise Awards took place recently to recognise excellence in African entrepreneurship, and The Voice scooped up one of the most coveted gongs.
Set up in 1982, the publication is Britain's best-selling newspaper for the African and Caribbean community.
It beat contenders such as the Africa Channel, OHTV, IC Publications and VOX Africa.
George Ruddock, acting managing director of The Voice, reflected on the achievement. He said: "We are obviously pleased to be chosen as the Media House of The Year, beating off top-level nominees.
"We are a newspaper which has certainly set out in the last year to focus heavily on Africa because we know it is the largest demographic [out of The Voice's readership] here in the UK.
"[Africa] has some of the most impressive, emerging economies in the world, and we realise that the focus on Africa - its culture, its music and what it offers the UK - is very important, and we will continue to focus on the continent and its diaspora through our pages."
Washington Kapapiro, chairman of the Association for African-Owned Enterprises, said: "The awards represent a highly valued symbol of achievement; a coveted possession of the business people, professionals, academics, companies, and community leaders who receive an award."
The inaugural event was held at the Grand Connaught Rooms, in Holborn, central London, and welcomed a wealth of accomplished nominees.
The winners in each respective category were decided upon by an independent panel of judges that included leading financial journalist Gail Mwamba and Debbie Thomas, head of Africa Services Group at Deloitte.
The Voice was founded by Jamaican-born accountant Val McCalla, with a loan from the Greater London Council, now the Greater London Authority, to fund the business venture.
Over its 34-year reign as 'Britain's Best Black Newspaper', The Voice has served the black community by giving it a voice where other mainstream newspapers have failed.
Ruddock discussed how the readership and content have changed over the years. He said: "We have taken on a number of issues to do with Africa this year. For instance, it is a hundred years since the emergence of modern Africa, following the scramble for Africa.
"We have focused on that this year, as well as other issues such as the growth of Afrobeat, which is now one of the most popular music genres around.
"Everything points to the fact that Africa is on the rise, and we hope to satisfy the readership, which is also growing in that area, starting with more focus groups."
The black African population in Britain has doubled from 0.8 per cent to 1.7 per cent, or from 484,783 to 989,628 nominally, according to the 2011 census.
Between 2001 and 2011, those who identified as Black Caribbean has stabilised at 1.1 per cent, increasing nominally by only 29,204.