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Keynote speakers confirmed for Entrepreneurs’ Forum conference

Justin Urquhart Stewart

Business commentator Justin Urquhart Stewart and Jo Fairley, co-founder of Green & Black’s, have been confirmed as keynote speakers at next month’s inspirational Entrepreneurs’ Forum conference.

‘Fortune Favours the Brave’ will see over 200 entrepreneurs from across the North East gather at Wynyard Hall on Thursday 7th November for the event, hosted by BBC journalist and presenter Charlie Charlton and supported by Recognition PR.

Justin, famous for his trademark red braces, is co-founder of Seven Investment Management (7IM) and has been a regular commentator on the markets across TV, radio and the press, most notably on BBC 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money.

His early career spanned the vineyards of Europe, the docks of Southampton and Singapore, but in 2001 Justin set up 7IM with his business partner. It now manages and administers around £14 billion on behalf of professional wealth managers and intermediaries.

After becoming the UK’s youngest-ever magazine editor at the age of 23, Jo Fairley began her entrepreneurial journey in 1991 after co-founding Green & Blacks, with £20,000 worth of savings.

She sold the upmarket chocolate brand in 2005, which is now worth an estimated £100m worldwide, but continues to champion its success with new owners Cadburys as well as developing her own portfolio, including Judges Bakery, The Wellington Centre and The Perfume Society.

Entrepreneurs can also hear the motivational story of North East businessman Phil Kite, who, at the age of 53, departed as CEO of Reece Group to found rowing team Team Tyne Innovation. He is accompanied by Claire Hughes, who was part of the victorious crew who in January completed the world’s toughest row, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, in 42 days 10 hours and 26 minutes – a record time for a mixed four.

Additional speakers include James Brown, who was inspired by his love of craft beer to set up Edinburgh-based online subscription service Beer52 with his friend Fraser. Since establishing the beer club in 2013, it has grown rapidly to achieve a turnover of more than £11m.

Graham Robb, senior partner at Recognition PR, will also host a panel of young North East entrepreneurs, including Dan Martin of Elmtronics, Steve Erdal of Wordnerds, Joanne Bell and John Betts of INDUSTRO Solutions and Dan Foskett of Connection Flooring, who will share their experience of scaling-up their businesses.

Jonathan Lamb, chief executive of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “The theme of this conference focuses on remaining true to your beliefs in business and we have secured a truly inspirational line up of speakers who can testify to what is possible when you adopt the true spirit of entrepreneurship.

“It is an opportunity for them to share their invaluable experience with like-minded businesspeople during what is one of the highlights of the Forum’s extensive events calendar.”