A Rugby World Cup winner and ex-England captain will join two successful entrepreneurs at the National Franchise Exhibition to share the secrets of their businesses’ success.

The exhibition, which takes place on the 5 and 6 October at the NEC Birmingham, features inspiring speakers as part of the event’s exclusive Growing Your Own Business conference. These speakers will detail their own experiences developing successful enterprises and provide valuable advice and guidance for budding business people.

Rugby star Phil Vickery, MBE (pictured right, bottom), will join Andy Fussell (pictured top), founder of Fussel’s Fine Foods, and Keira O’Mara (pictured right, top), Director of Mama Designs Ltd, as guest speakers at the event.

Fussell will explain how he translated his love of local produce into an award-winning business. He will detail the story of his progression from farmer to high street product producer in his talk ‘From overalls to the high street’.

A former Dragon’s Den contestant, Fussell has created a range of sauces, oils, dressings and mayonnaise using his own-grown rapeseed oil. The range has now expanded to eight products and has received numerous awards and acclaim.

O’Mara ‘s company, Mama Designs Ltd, creates award winning baby products. She has built the business from scratch and now sells her products worldwide via her website and through major UK retailers including Boots, Mothercare and Asda. At The Growing Your Own Business conference, O’Mara will explain how she spotted a gap in the market and created popular products that fulfil a real need from consumers in her talk ‘One mum band – how my baby products became a success’.

Vickery was a member of the World Cup winning England rugby team and later became captain. After starting his own clothing range, Raging Bull and winning the 2011 Celebrity MasterChef title, Vickery decided to take on a new challenge and recently joined the franchise industry as Director of lettings agency franchise, SureLet Ltd.

Vickery will talk about his transition from sporting triumphs to success in the business world, and how his experience on the field informs his approach to franchising.


He said: “I liken the work with SureLet to rugby, as in the property industry team spirit and family atmosphere go hand-in-hand with raw skill and a hard work ethic. In rugby, once you’re welcomed into the ‘family’ you have a support network that you can constantly call upon when you’re struggling.”


Vickery will be speaking about his journey and his aspirations at 15.30 on Friday 5 October in Theatre 4.


The Growing Your Own Business conference is part of The National Franchise Exhibition, which showcases over 150 exhibitors with a variety of career opportunities to suit every budget and lifestyle. Franchise exhibitors range across industries such as food and drink, finance, retail, property, care, and travel. These include brands such as McDonald’s, Guinot, Cash Converters, Papa John’s, WPA, Lawn Keeper, Mac Tools, Banana Moon Day Nursery and Home Sale Bureau. Visitors can meet with franchisors to find out what is on offer, and hear from existing franchise owners to gain an insider’s account of running a franchise.

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