PLANS are well under way for this year’s Kirklees Business Conference – with the first three high-profile speakers already lined up.

Stores Direct founder Mike Birtwhistle and FrogTrade founder Gareth Davies will join Huddersfield town chairman and Card Factory founder Dean Hoyle at KBC ‘12. All three will share their experiences, mistakes, successes and secrets with delegates at the conference.

Mike will join Dean on the “Kirklees Business Titans Panel Q&A” seminar. This session will bring together key business leaders from Kirklees businesses to create a live forum where delegates can learn how the best got to where they are now.

Mike launched Stores Direct from the back of his old Vauxhall Corsa. The company, based at Bradley, was ranked 45th in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100, which ranks the UK’s top 100 private companies with the fastest-growing sales over the past three years.

Gareth founded FrogTrade in 1999 when he developed Frog from a spare bedroom in his house. He self-funded FrogTrade by re-mortgaging his house and the company has grown from two to 90 employees and is now worth millions.

He has proved an inspirational and visionary leader – guiding Frog to be the UK’s market leading learning platform used in more than 600 UK schools and scores of schools overseas.

Danny Matharu, event director of KBC, said: “This is an immense launch to the seminar programme at KBC ‘12.

“To have Town’s chairman Dean Hoyle back is amazing. We only scratched the surface of his story last year and he wants to allow KBC delegates to delve deeper this time.”

Said Danny: “Mike’s journey and his insights into business are remarkable. Delegates will learn how a battered Vauxhall Corsa eventually led to meeting Sir Richard Branson.

“Gareth is a modern day ‘no bull’ business leader. Outspoken and opinionated, he will share the astonishing Frog story from where he started, the successes, mistakes and barriers that he came up against while making Frog a market leading multi-million pound international business.”

Kirklees Business Conference takes place at The Galpharm Stadium – soon to become the John Smith’s Stadium – on September 27.

Places are free to delegates and can be booked now via