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Business exchange gets off to sweet start

28 June 2013


A world famous chocolate expert is heading up a new programme for the region’s business leaders.

Jo Fairley, the entrepreneur behind organic chocolate brand Green and Blacks, is speaking at the first Business Exchange event at Teesside University’s Darlington Campus on July 2.

The programme has been designed by industry experts to offer short, high-profile networking events for business leaders.

A former journalist, Jo started pioneering organic chocolate company Green and Blacks, together with husband Craig Sams, with just £20,000 of her own savings.

Since 1991 she has built it up to outsell Marmite into a £100m business. The company has earned the accolade ‘cooler than Prada’ according to Cool Brands 2007 and won numerous awards.

Jo said: 'Throughout my career I’ve built up an exceptional understanding of brand creation and development.

'I’m pleased to be invited to Teesside University’s Darlington campus to be given the opportunity to enter into discussion, and share what I have learnt, with the North East’s business leaders.

'As I continue developing my own career in business it is inspiring to speak with other business leaders to discuss and share insights into the commercial realities of business.

'I’ve had my fair share of roller-coaster moments that have allowed me to develop marketing skills in a real-life context. I've brought this experience to my own new venture and to the companies I act as consultant for.'

The Business Exchange is a network of senior leaders from businesses and organisations in the North East and North Yorkshire, meeting every month at Teesside University Darlington.

Each event features a high-profile national or regional business speaker sharing their business knowledge, followed by a question and answer session, and networking time.

Speakers touch on practical issues that resonate with business leaders such as; branding, managing through a recession, developing a business, who to employ and how to grow.

Laura Woods, Director of Academic Enterprise at Teesside University, said: 'This programme is designed to inspire, connect and add value for senior leaders in the region, whether a managing director of an engineering company or the financial director of a packaging firm.

'The Business Exchange is supported by expert research on what drives the people at the helm of successful enterprises.

'The synergies created by like-minded business people coming together offer tremendous value, not only for those attending, but for the businesses and organisations they represent, helping us collectively to achieve our aim of inspiring and growing the economy in the north east.'

The Business Exchange takes place on Tuesday, July 2, from 8am to 9.30am at Teesside University Darlington, Vicarage Road, Darlington, DL1 1JW.

For more information contact Catherine Kearney at or telephone 01642 738969.

Information also available at
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