Legendary businessman and exporter, Gerald Ratner, will be guest speaker at the IOE-hosted gala dinner to celebrate the achievements of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise 2016 international trade winners, at One Great George Street, Westminster, London 28th September.
Now in its 50th year, the Queen’s Award for Enterprise is arguably the top honour for any UK business – with our glittering annual evening event for those who scoop the international trade category getting bigger and better each year. And, after 2015’s hugely successful function, we are confident that the story of our fascinating and controversial top-flight speaker will grip everyone who attends.
Gerald Ratner knows all about riding the wave of commercial success to giddy heights – only to experience the sickening downward lurch of one of the biggest, high-profile and sudden falls from grace, as plunging fortunes lost him everything almost overnight.
After building up the family jewellery business from 130 stores with annual sales of £13 million into a public company with 2,500 outlets worldwide posting turnover of more than £1.2 billion, a public gaffe where he described a product as ‘total crap’ forced him out of the business.
Against the odds, he bounced back – clawing his way to the top again with first a highly profitable health club, then an online jewellery export company, GeraldOnline , which today turns over £25 million and is preparing to go to market.
Every Queen’s Award international trade winner has to show that they are not only committed to trading overseas, but that it is an integral part of their business strategy. Their companies have to meet strict criteria in three key areas – overseas earnings’ growth, commercial success and strategy – in a tough selection process that sees them pitted against top international businesses.
Institute director general, Lesley Batchelor OBE, said: “Winners’ achievements will doubtless inspire others to explore international trade – as will our keynote speaker. Gerald Ratner is a British export phenomenon; he oversaw an operation that once boasted 1,000 outlets in the US alone yet knows the bitter taste of business failure.
“Despite that, he has built an exciting new export force and is a fine example to those who might be considering launching or growing overseas trading operations how anyone with determination, market knowledge and the right support can tap into the huge opportunities presented by global commerce.”