Region’s largest business event launches for second year

13 May 2019

Published in: Black Country Chamber of Commerce News

The 2019 Black Country Business Festival kick-started earlier today (Monday 13 May) with an impressive opening event at the University of Wolverhampton’s outstanding new Springfield Campus.

Around 120 people from the Black Country and beyond, packed into the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills to see Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority; Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton; Murray Lambell, Vice-President, UK Trading at eBay; Corin Crane, Chief Executive of Black Chamber of Commerce; Paul Jones founder of Black Country business, Goodstart Jones; and Sarah Middleton, Chief Executive of the Black Country Consortium, officially mark the start of the second, annual Black Country Business Festival.

Over the next two weeks, more than 100 free business events - run by Black Country companies, will be staged in all corners of the region from Stourbridge and Dudley to West Bromwich, Walsall and Wolverhampton. There will be everything from trade shows, seminars and networking events to workshops, premises tours and conferences.

Anyone can attend the events and tickets are free, but must be booked in advance via the website

The Business Festival was initiated in 2018 by the Black Country Chamber, and this year, it is being headline sponsored by on-line retailer, eBay, which launched its first UK, ‘Retail Revival’ scheme in Wolverhampton in November 2018 to help local retailers to start trading online, complementing their existing shops.

Rob Hattrell,  Vice President at eBay UK, said: “We’re delighted to be the headline sponsor for this year’s Black Country Business Festival. At eBay, we’re committed to helping small businesses thrive and the Festival is a fantastic opportunity to champion local entrepreneurs and showcase the huge potential of the people and businesses in the region.

“Last Friday we launched eBay’s first ever UK concept store in Wolverhampton. I’d encourage everyone to come and visit us at 10 Railway Drive and see products from some of the fantastic local sellers working in the Retail Revival programme.

“To celebrate the opening of the concept store, eBay will be supporting many of the participating businesses by funding a 20% discount for customers between 13 and 16 May. Lucky shoppers will be able to redeem this by using the code POP20.”

Corin Crane,  Chief Executive of the Black Country Chamber said, “It’s great to get our second Business Festival underway and in such a prestigious environment – and I would like to thank to the University of Wolverhampton for hosting such a brilliant launch.

“We’ve got an exciting fortnight coming up. Amongst the many superb events in the programme, the Chamber is hosting inspiring events on a diverse range of subjects from the importance of ethical finance in business, celebrating women in business and Careers speed networking to an impressive Business Expo on 22 May and our topical ‘Business in a Post Brexit Britain’ event on Wednesday, which will see Britain’s biggest business support organisations discuss the implications of Brexit on businesses across the UK.”

“With over 100 free events to choose from there is certainly something for everyone. I would encourage people to make the most of the free opportunities on offer in the Festival and go along to learn, share, network, develop and grow their businesses.”

Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Andy Street,  who spoke at the launch event, added, “I am very much looking forward to the Business Festival again this year. The breadth of the Festival and the dozens of seminars, workshops and events it features, reflects the huge diversity of industries that make up the Black Country business community - which I believe has played a key part in the economic resurgence of the West Midlands.

“The Festival illustrates how confidence is growing across the sectors, fed by innovation, ambition and talent in the region. And just as the Festival aims to connect business people, local industry is benefitting from huge infrastructure improvements that will link up the area’s boroughs, helping trade and bringing investment.”

The Business Festival was developed by the Black Country Chamber and it is headline partnered by on-line retailer, eBay. Other partners include: DY5 – Dudley’s Business and Innovation Enterprise Zone, Talbots Law, the University of Wolverhampton, Birmingham Airport, Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and Black Country Growth Hub. Sponsors are Casino 36 and M6 Toll.

Supporters are Wolverhampton Racecourse; accountancy firm, Crowe; Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, Think Sandwell, Gecko Programmes and Walsall Council. Media partners are Signal 107, the Express and Star, outdoor media experts, Elonex and Infonote Datasystems. It is run in association with Associate Events. For more information, to see the complete calendar or to book tickets for events, visit

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