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‘Poor boy, done good’ offers business insight for Cumbrian firms

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones

The man behind one of the most successful food launches of recent times will pass on his expertise to Cumbrian businesses looking to grow into the future.

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, who launched his own range of meat products under The Black Farmer label, will speak to business leaders at an event in Penrith in September.

Wilfred is coming to the county as part of Cumbria Growth Hub’s Cumbria Forum offer that includes ERDF-funded activity encompassing masterclass events, two-day workshops and the full six-month growth programme delivered by Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) for small and medium-sized enterprises in the region.

He will deliver a masterclass entitled “Jeopardy and the Danger of Playing it Safe”, looking at the problems with companies adopting a survival mode in times of uncertainty instead of embracing change and challenges, and evolving beyond start-up success.

Wilfred is, in his own words, ‘a poor boy, done good’, who was born in Jamaica and raised in inner-city Birmingham. Unqualified but persistent, he talked his way into television, and was responsible for introducing chefs like Gordon Ramsay and James Martin to the small screen.

He is now known simply as The Black Farmer after buying a small farm in Devon, with the Flavours without Frontiers strapline on all his products summing up his personality and philosophy as he refuses to be confined by race, convention or tradition.

Ewan Pullan, LUMS Programme Manager for the Cumbria Forum, said: “Wilfred’s forthright opinions on rural affairs and what he sees as justice for small producers often generate attention, and he will talk about the positives and challenges of growing a business in a region like Cumbria.

“He says he ‘owned’ the South West before he looked at any other region, and that both regions have a lot of similarities.”

Wilfred will deliver his masterclass at North Lakes Hotel and Spa, Penrith, on Tuesday, September 17, starting at 5.30pm. The event includes a talk with Wilfred, a question-and-answer session and a chance to network with other business leaders from across Cumbria.

For more information about the event or Cumbria Forum, contact Pete Cornwall on 01524 510728