One of Birmingham's leading Asian business groups has become the first victim of a city council crackdown on under-performing community organisations.
Cabinet regeneration member Ken Hardeman terminated a contract with the Birmingham Asian Business Association on the basis that it was failing to deliver a programme to help small firms grow.
BABA won an Enterprise City contract to support the Asian community, but during the past year put forward only nine nominations for businesses requiring help – six of which were ruled unsuitable for financial help by the council.
The organisation's failure means that #250,000 out of a #280,000 grant remains unspent.
BABA has become the first casualty of a controversial review by Coun Hardeman into the performance of business organisations funded by the council.
Last night he warned that as many as nine other under-performing bodies would probably find their funding cut. The money saved would be diverted to bodies better equipped to deliver economic development programmes.
He was unhappy that, historically, the council had continued to fund "favoured" organisations without properly monitoring performance.
"There will be casualties," Coun Hardeman (Con Brandwood) said. "Like many other organisations, the Birmingham Asian Business Association has been used to getting funding from the council. I have looked at all of them and this is one example where we do not think money is being well spent.
"They haven't delivered."
Coun Hardeman said he was proud to have led an investigation into the funding of organisations across the city. The inquiry follows concern expressed by the council's Tory-Lib Dem coalition which, upon taking office in June 2004, expressed concern at the lack of performance targets set for groups funded by the local authority. There were also claims that organisations led by officials with links to Labour had been favoured.
Coun Hardeman said: "Lots of people on the edge could never get into the system, while others had it almost by rights. It's got to change.
"This is just one example. I am sure there will be other organisations that may find themselves in difficulties in relation to council funding unless they can offer the services we want and are prepared to stand up and be counted against the outcomes we set. They will be monitored strictly.
"There are a number of organisations in the city that are having to report what they do and conform to the rules and regulations that we set. They have got to be more business minded, more accountable and accept that the money granted to them has to be measured against agreed outomes.
"This is the first organisation to be told that their funding is stopping. Others are going through the process. Some aren't going to be successful where, in the past, they might have been."
The Birmingham Asian Business Association was founded in 1992 after a Chamber of Commerce survey indicated a lack of help organisations for the Asian community. It is based in Sparkbrook.
BABA's website says its main aim is to assist Asian businesses develop to their full potential, to help in the economic regeneration of Birmingham and to reduce disadvantage and discrimination facing minority ethnic communities.
The organisation's mission statement reads: "By providing quality business development programmes and services, the Association will help ensure that Asian businesses are prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead for long term survival and growth."
BABA development manager Tariq Chaudhry declined to comment.
The Institute of Asian Businesses is to hold its annual dinner and awards at the ICC in Birmingham tomorrow night.
The event will feature, for the first time, the incorporation of the first IAB annual awards, recognising and celebrating the achievements of individuals and companies from across the region.
About 800 guests are expected at the dinner which will feature as the main speaker Karan Bilimoria, the founder & chief executive of Cobra Beer.