IJL launches hunt for top industry entrepreneur

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New Jewellery Entrepreneur of the Year award to be given in September.

September trade event International Jewellery London (IJL) has announced the launch of an exciting industry award designed to identify entrepreneurs in the jewellery industry – the Jewellery Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Described as a first for the industry, the initiative will reward an individual that has demonstrated entrepreneurial flair in developing a business with the potential to grow into a profitable and exciting addition to the UK jewellery industry.

Entrants will be invited to pitch their ideas in the style of hit TV show Dragon’s Den to an impressive panel of key industry players. They will present to the panel of judges at the Lion’s Lair, due to be hosted at IJL 2014, with proceedings set to be chaired by leading British jewellery and watch entrepreneur John Ayton.

There are no restrictions on applications – entrants can put forward their involvement in the development or exploitation of a specific product, design, service, new technology or simply an innovative idea supported by a business plan demonstrating its potential to become a significant force in the industry.

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IJL event director Sam Willoughby said: "The UK jewellery industry is one of the most exciting and creative jewellery markets in the world, excelling in innovation. We are always looking at ways of supporting and promoting the industry and when we came up with this idea, it struck us that this is a fantastic way of recognising and rewarding those clever entrepreneurs who we know are out there but perhaps in need of additional support. I am not alone in thinking it is an initiative with considerable promise and am delighted that some really authoritative industry leaders have joined the judging panel."

The winner of the award will receive a stand and promotional package worth up to £7,000 at IJL 2015, designed to help them in furthering their business and ensuring that it becomes a leading light in the jewellery industry. They will also be mentored for a period of twelve months by an appropriate figure in the industry.

The Entrepreneur of the Year judging panel includes familiar names from retailing, design and academia – who have seen selected for their wide knowledge and experience across the industry, making them uniquely qualified to select a winner:

• John Ayton MBE – chairman of the Bremont Watch Company and Annoushka, co-founder and former owner of Links of London
• Stuart Laing – CEO of the Houlden Group and Laing’s of Glasgow
• Melanie Wakefield – director, Wakefields of Horsham
• John Ball – director, Brown & Newirth
• Andrew Morton – managing director, Domino Jewellery
• Peter Taylor – director, Goldsmiths Centre
• Lee Lucas – principal of Holts Academy of Jewellery
• Kathryn Bishop – editor of Professional Jeweller magazine
• Sam Willoughby – event director, IJL

Brown & Newirth director John Ball said of the Entrepreneur of the Year award: "As a big supporter of highlighting new and existing talent within the jewellery industry, I am personally delighted to have been asked to sit on the panel for the inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year award 2014, organised by IJL. The jewellery industry should consider it our collective responsibility to ensure that we discover, mentor and develop talent here in the UK and it’s really good to see IJL investing and supporting the industry in this way. With design, innovation and branding all important in today’s market, the panel will offer this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year the mentorship and benefit of our experience to help them succeed in their respective field, a challenge that I was very happy to be invited by IJL to be part of."

Houlden Group chief executive Stuart Laing added: "This is a great project and I am looking forward to helping find a budding entrepreneur who has a brilliant idea but needs a helping hand to develop it further. There are a number of awards around but I think this one stands out as it fulfils a niche within the industry to find the business talent of the future."

How to Enter
Entrants need to apply online at www.jewellerylondon.com/entrepreneur by Friday May 30.

A shortlist of four entrepreneurs will be selected and invited to pitch to the Lions Lair, in the Inspiration Seminar Theatre at IJL on Tuesday September 2 2014. They will each have 10  minutes to present their idea or business model to the panel of judges and will then answer the judges questions. There will also be a live audience who can vote, but the judges’ decision will be final and announced live at the end of the Lion’s Lair.
 

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