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Industry leaders add weight to Business Festival

Ten high-profile industry professionals have been confirmed as the key sector leads in the first Black Country Business Festival - running from 23 April to 4 May.

Developed by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce the Business Festival will see around 120 business events taking place across the region over the fortnight.

The programme is made up of tradeshows, seminars, workshops and conferences of all descriptions - put on by local companies to help other local organisations and individual to grow and develop, and to showcase to the rest of the world, the fantastic business in the Black Country.

To raise the profile of the Festival more widely, the programme of events has been divided into nine key sectors that are important to the economic growth of the area or that have significant growth potential. Each sector is led by a business professional who is well-known in their industry and extremely knowledgeable in their area of expertise.

Sector leads are confirmed as:

  • Advanced Manufacturing – Paul Nicol, Consultant

  • Automotive – Trevor Leeks, Jaguar Land Rover

  • Creative Industries – Kelly Jeffs, CEO Light House

  • Education – Jatinder Sharma, Principal & Chief Executive, Walsall College

  • Hospitality & Tourism – Andrew Lovett, CEO, Black Country Living Museum

  • Professional Services, Business Support & Communications - Ian Bond, Director & Head of Trusts & Estates, Talbots Law and Shaun Carvill, MD, Clickingmad (Dual role)

  • Property and Construction – Stephen Tracey, Construction Manager, Wates

  • Retail – Dan Murphy, Regional Centre Director, intu Merry Hill.

  • Transport & Logistics – Stuart Everton, Black Country Director of Transport, City of Wolverhampton Council

There are events in every sector. In retail, Intu Merry Hill is showcasing exclusive artists impressions and plans of the centre’s forthcoming £100 million development to further enhance the retail mix space reshape the centre

Retail sector lead, Dan Murphy (right), Regional Centre Director at Intu Merry Hill said, “The Black Country has thriving businesses, innovative attractions and most importantly inspiring communities all proud of being from the Black Country. The introduction of the Black Country Business Festival has created a platform for the area to showcase all of this not only nationally but internationally making it truly an exciting time to be part of the region.”

Digital agency, Clickingmad is running two events to help businesses to learn tips and tricks that will make their website out from the crowd and turn it into a great sales tool. Shaun Carvill, (right) Managing Director of Clickingmad and joint sector lead for Professional Services, Business Support & Communications said, “The Black Country is one of the most vibrant and exciting areas of the UK to do business.

"The Business Festival will help put the Black Country back where it belongs; at the top of the list when it comes to business investment, opportunities and job creation and also to acknowledge where the industrial revolution had its first great expansion.”

Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber said: “We decided to divide the Festival into sectors to make it easeir for people to browse through the events that are relevant to them. It will also allow us to extend our national reach and promote the Black County’s innovation, culture and commerce on much broader scale.

“There is no better time stand together and tell the rest of the world about our amazing, vibrant and diverse business community - because ‘this is the Black Country’!

In addition to the Chamber of Commerce, the Black Country Business Festival is partnered by DY5 – Dudley’s Business and Innovation Enterprise Zone and is supported by a number of organisations which all understand its importance and relevance and want to contribute to its success. These include Cox & Plant, the Federation of Small Businesses, Ramada Park Hall Hotel, the University of Wolverhampton, Talbots Law, Wolverhampton Racecourse and Casino 36.The Business Festival media partners are the Express & Star, Midlands in Business, Signal 107 and Elonex.

For more information, visit the website at, email or call 01902 912 304.

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