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An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones gives an inspirational talk I've met Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones before; he's "the Black Farmer" with his Devonshire farm, and his famous brand of sauages. Oh - and he's our prospective Conservative MP too. From that meeting before - concerned with local public transport - I got a picture of an assured gentleman with an aristocratic background (or at least an aristocratic ambience). But, listening to him giving the keynote speech at HSBC's business event, I've some to realise there's even more to Wifred than I had dreamed.

Born in Jamaica, moved as a tiny child to Small Heath, Birmingham where his family of 11 lived in a 2 up, 2 down terrace ... he hated the place, but fell in love with gardening the allotment and set his heart on a farm. Leaving school at 16, joining the Army but then being thrown out for bolshiness wasn't the best ofcareer moves, but he found a niche in catering businesses before being inspired to break into the BBC. Wifred talks of tens of approaches, hundreds or rejections, and keeping on going until a lucky break and at intro to when he was at Pebble Mill got him a 3 month contract at the very bottom rung of the ladder, from which he moved up and up, end up as the main producer for some of the earlier celebrity chef shows.

"But I'm not going to get my farm that way" said Wilfred, and moved on from the BBC to the sales / marketing /branding of products such as Kettle Chips, Plymouth Gin and Lloyd Grossman sauces, and then on to his dream farm - sinking all the money he had earned and saved up into his farm, just at the time that others were pulling out of local argriculture. But he has/had a cunning plan; a product on which 350k R&D was invested, supply chains, delivery chains leaving him to concentrate on what he does best. Wilfred talks of tough times in early marketing, trying to convince the supermarkets to take his products, and of moving the public on from their well established buying habits to demand that ... first Asda then others ... stock "Black Farmer" sausages.

I've quoted background there as story - and there were nuggets all the way along too. About nurturing a business. About having it in "intensive care" for three years at the start. About having a team who believe in the business too. About not being afraid to be Mr Nasty (I half believe him on that!). But actually he has rather more too. He has a presence and an individual contact - from a warm handshake to a memory that makes you feel that you're the one he wants to meet, and that he's there for you. We chatted for a few minutes and it was good not only to catch up, but also to look forward. Looking forward - will he be elected to parliament? I suspect he will - not necessarily at the first try or even in the first constituency - but I suspect he will. And he's already got other aspirations for the step beyond - this will be one MP who won't be just another grey parry man representing some obscure shire seat.

(written 2007-07-06)

 
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  [216] Cheap purchase - votes paid for with selfish promises - (2005-02-15)


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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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