Inspiring Entrepreneurs: The Business of Food – From Farm to Fork


The last few years have certainly been eventful for the food industry. From inflationary pressures to the enduring effects of the pandemic, many consumers have altered their food purchasing and dining out habits. However, despite these challenges ethical sourcing remains important: nearly four in five food and drink shoppers intentionally choose products with a sustainability claim (Mintel – Sustainability in Food report 2023).

Join us for an inspirational evening with Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, warmly known as The Black Farmer and Thomasina Miers, co-founder of Wahaca as they share their insights on the emerging trends in the food industry and the changing image of food on the high street.

Has the growth of new eateries in the UK serving recipes from all corners of the globe brought forth an evolution of British taste buds? Are food businesses raising the awareness of sustainability and how we can connect more with nature in our food choices? Hear about and discuss these hot topics, and more with the two well-known innovators as they also consider the part their own business journeys have played in revolutionising the face of the food industry in the UK.

This event is part of the British Library Food Season 2023

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Inspiring Entrepreneurs: High street heroes


High streets are the beating heart of our local communities. Having a presence on the high street gives businesses a unique opportunity to connect with their customers, and the responsibility to meet their needs as these change and evolve. What additional service could you offer to those who interact with your brand in person? What extra impact could you generate by sharing your spaces with neighbours and fellow makers?

We have brought together a panel of three loved and respected local businesses, our high street heroes. Their founders will share practical tips through their inspiring stories and tell us more about their individual journeys.

Mary Otumahana, award-winning musician and founder of The RecordShop; a grassroots independent organisation based in Wood Green, that focuses on making an impact with a multipurpose music space located on the high street. By providing access to a recording studio and music career training, Mary is leading a mission to educate, inform and inspire inner-city youths to connect to their community through music.Hellen Stirling-Baker, founder of children’s store, Small Stuff, has led her business from an experimental pop-up shop to a successful, eco-friendly bricks and clicks model at the heart of her high street in Crookes, Sheffield. A perfect example that being a small shop doesn’t mean you can’t have big values; Hellen is a local leader who champions ethical suppliers and supports other retailers, often sharing her shop for community-building events. Hellen is the deserved winner of this year’s High Street Hero for the Small Awards 2022.Carolynn Bain, founder of Afori Books, the first Black-owned bookshop in Brighton. Carolynn almost did the opposite of most during the pandemic; inspired to stock only Black authors in response to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, she started her business as an online shop. Demand was so high however, that Afrori Books was approached to open a physical bookshop in Lighthouse, a local Arts-based charity, with fit-out costs successfully crowdfunded.

We are running this event with the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) who are also champions of high street businesses and are here to help, all year round.

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