Career Conversations: The Black Farmer – ‘Audacity is key to success’

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Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, AKA, The Black Farmer, is a force to be reckoned with.

A child of the Windrush generation, he left Jamaica and moved to Birmingham where he lived with 10 family members in a two-up two-down.

Nobody would have believed then that he would go on to become a wildly successful farmer and entrepreneur – nobody except him, perhaps.

What’s been key to his success is his attitude, “you have to be audacious”, he tells Elisa Roche in this episode of the Career Conversations podcast series.

Even as a young boy, growing up in an area he describes as “the pits”, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones was driven to do better for himself.

Roped in to help his dad on his allotment, bought to supplement the family’s income, he soon found his calling: “I absolutely loved being on our allotment as a child because it was an oasis away from the misery I was surrounded by.

“At the age of 11, I made myself a promise, that one day I would like to own my own farm.”

But before he could achieve his dream, he had an equally successful career working in the media.

“I could hardly read or write,” he says. But he worked for free opening the gates for the security guards at the BBC studios in Birmingham, before moving up the ranks and eventually helping to launch the TV careers of the likes of Gordon Ramsey and Raymond Blanc.

Listen to the full episode to find out how Wilfred reached the decision to call his farm foods brand The Black Farmer, learn more about his passion for linking rural and urban communities, and why his motto is “never ask for permission, just ask for forgiveness.”

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones MBE, AKA, The Black Farmer

Wilfred is an entrepreneur, businessman, author and founder of The Black Farmer brand.  He recently launched his online shop The Black Farmer Experience, which has been a long-held ambition. Here visitors can shop everything from the brand’s famous gluten free sausages; grass fed, free-range meat and poultry, and sustainably caught fish, Caribbean specialities, deli and unusual gifts.

Wilfred is, in his own words, ‘a poor boy, done good’. He was born in Jamaica and then, after his parents came to the UK in the 50s as part of the Windrush generation, was raised in inner city Birmingham.

A classic entrepreneur, Wilfred has vision; passion; enthusiasm; determination; the ability to inspire and motivate others; he never accepts the status quo; never takes no for an answer; never shies away from hard work.

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