The successful businesswoman and TV personality jokingly declared herself ‘an honorary yam-yam’ after receiving the award at the University’s graduation ceremony.
Hilary addressed a packed Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and told postgraduates attending the ceremony: “I hope I’m gazing out on to the next generation of entrepreneurs who will keep this country as great as it is. Sincere congratulations to all of you; I think you’re all wonderful.”
She said she was absolutely delighted to receive her award, which recognises her hugely significant contribution to business: “It is a great privilege and honour,” she said.
Hilary, who now lives in Burton Upon Trent, Staffordshire, made her fortune launching Pall-Ex, a palletised freight network which now has a turnover of £100 million. She has also become a familiar face on British TV, known for her pivotal roles in reality shows including; Dragon's Den, The Intern, The Secret Millionaire and The Business Inspector.
Speaking after the ceremony, she said: “I have been to many universities but Wolverhampton seems one of the most learned and certainly the friendliest.
“I now consider myself an honorary yam-yam.”
She advised would-be entrepreneurs never to give up, saying: “Keep on going; failure is not an option.
“Don’t worry about the money. If you get the job right the money will follow.”
Professor Geoff Layer, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are always delighted to be awarding honorary degrees to leading figures who have made a significant contribution to their fields. Their expertise, knowledge and experience provide fascinating insights for our students.”
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