Jay Blades wows future entrepreneurs in Wolverhampton

By John Corser | Wolverhampton | Business | Published:

Television presenter and entrepreneur Jay Blades, who has made Wolverhampton his home city, helped inspire a new generation to consider a career in business.

Jay Blades with Ormiston Forge Academy pupils Emily Garrington and Declan Lawrence-Grimmitt

The Repair Shop presenter, who co-founded social enterprise Out of Dark, was guest speaker on day two of the Black Country Business Festival at the careers speed networking event hosted by Wolverhampton Racecourse.

More than 240 youngsters aged 10 to 14-years-old from 25 of the region's schools took part in the event with 120 volunteers from businesses from a range of sectors.

The audience at the racecourse listening to Jay Blades

Black Country Chamber of Commerce careers and enterprise co-ordinator Vikka Haines said the event, which was run with Black Country Skills Factory and the Careers and Enterprise Company, aimed to bridge the gap between business and education.

"It was an absolutely fantastic day with a real buzz in the room. All the students were really engaged," she added.

"At the business breakfast to start the event Jay spoke about why he had chosen to have his business based in Wolverhampton and about the need for entrepreneurship. He also put the call out to businesses to give an hour back to inspire young people."

Jay Blades speaking during the networking event at Wolverhampton racecourse


She said the event had been bigger than in 2018 and the hope was to grow it further in 2020.

"We hope more businesses will knock on our door to be a part of the speed networking next year," she added.

The Black Country Festival logo

Among a programme of 11 events yesterday Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton played host to a special Black Country Diners Club festival networking lunch. The event in the Hayward Suite featured a panel of industry experts and was run by BCRS Business Loans,


The panellists include Ninder Johal, Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands and chief executive of Nachural Group; Anna-Maria McAuliffe, director of McAuliffe Group; Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and Professor Michelle Shaw, director of education at the University of Wolverhampton.

Jay Blades, with Ormiston Forge Academy pupils, from left, Emily Garrington, aged 12, Leonnie Collins-Fogarty, 11, and Declan Lawrence-Grimmitt,12

On the opening day Walsall vending company Coinadrink hosed a tour of its new showroom. International attorneys Forresters then helped to demystify patents and trade marks, whilst Waldron's Solicitors hosted a workshop to promote the benefits of insurance and good financial planning

There is still time to book tickets for the festival's remaining events, which run until May 24 at

Today's 17 events include Penn Golf Club hosting the festival golf da. The chamber's Business in a Post Brexit Britain event takes place at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park at 5.30pm with panellists including Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce and Josh Hardie, Deputy Director General of the Confederation of British Industry.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.


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