The 2011 Independent Achievers Academy was launched yesterday afternoon in creative style! Origami and calligraphy were the order of the day as the business development program, now in it’s sixth year, took over a Chinese restaurant in Central London for the afternoon.

The Academy has been helping retailers build their business across 12 key areas through in-store visits, membership of the academy, and an annual Gala Dinner to reward the very best in retail.

“IAA is retail”, said Gravesend retailer Saf Sathi, winner of last year’s in-store theatre award.

Winner of the 2011 award for Responsible Retailing, Dee Sedani, gave an energising speech on why he entered the award last year, and why he intends to do so again this year. He explained how the awards inspire his staff to work harder to develop best-practice, and described the feeling of winning last year as “an incredible buzz that lasted for days afterwards.”

The new website has just launched, where you can read this years guide to the IAA, as well as keep up with all the latest IAA news, and fill in the entry form to get the chance of being included in this year’s Top 100.