Live wire electrifies Bristol Business audience

Issue date: 25 July 2005

Issue date: 25/07/05

Selling cut-price spectacles online led to James Murray Wells being named Young Entrepreneur of the Year - just one year after leaving the University of the West of England. Now, he is letting small and medium businesses in Bristol in on the secrets of his success.

James is one of the speakers at an enterprise seminar organised by UWE where he will describe how grew to a prize-winning business in less than a year. The seminar, called Getting Publicity for Your Business, is aimed at helping people from Bristol’s fledgling charities and companies who feel their services or products could do with a publicity boost. The seminar is sponsored by UWE and features Knowledge West, a new service linking Universities and businesses in the West of England.

“The speakers will suggest tips on media interview techniques and ways of making the most of bright ideas. James is a UWE alumnus and we look forward to hearing about his success,” said Nick Markovits, UWE Enterprise Manager and organiser of the event.

“ was launched in July 2004, the month after James graduated from UWE with a degree in English, and already it is a runaway success. The website has had over 2 million hits since the launch, and he has sold 20,000 pairs of prescription spectacles, saving customers around £2 million to date.”

In addition to the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year accolade, James is one of the regional finalists for the Credit Suisse Entrepreneur of the Year award, one of the categories of the 2005 National Business Awards.

Also speaking at the seminar will be media consultant Magnus Carter, MD of Mentor Consultancy Ltd, who will give insights into the use of the media as a marketing tool. He has had a distinguished BBC career and now trains corporate clients in media interview skills. There will be a question and answer session where audiences will have an opportunity to ask advice of the speakers and the other two panellists, Evening Post Business Editor Chloe Rigby and BBC publicist Beth Regan. Chloe has been the Bristol Evening Post’s Business Editor for five years, and Beth, who previously worked as a journalist and PR professional, has experience of managing BBC talent such as Alan Titchmarsh.

UWE’s Enterprise Team is based in the Centre for Research, Innovation and Graduate Studies, and provides practical support and skills development for entrepreneurs who wish to start or grow businesses. This support included running two business incubators in the centre of Bristol and the annual UWE Business Plan Competition.


Editor’s notes

1. UWE’s business incubators offer high-quality serviced office space with the addition of mentoring and business support, and a programme of business events. For further information on these or UWE’s other Enterprise activities, contact; telephone: +44 117 32 8 2763 or visit

2. Knowledge West is led by the University of the West of England and is a collaboration with the universities of Bath, Gloucestershire, and Bristol, the Royal Agricultural College, Bath Spa University College and Business West. This consortium has been brought together to provide a local gateway to world-class expertise for business, and in particular to develop Flagship Projects, which are currently being developed in the following areas – aerospace, creative industries and e-procurement .

3. The Shell Live WIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year award aims to reward and celebrate the achievements of young people in business. The Awards, now in their twenty-third year, offer a top prize of £10,000 as well as free start-up business advice, case studies, and online resources for small businesses. For more info visit

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