This week it was announced that retail entrepreneur Laura Tenison MBE will host the 2013 Independent Achievers Academy Gala Dinner

An inspirational independent retailer who has grown her company, JoJo Maman Bébé, from start up in 1993 to 56 shops today (in addition to worldwide internet and mail order sales), Tenison plays an active role in selecting and opening her shops in high street locations throughout the UK. Personal service, attention to detail and getting your values right are three of the themes that she will share with 300 guests at the gala dinner, when the UK’s top independent shopkeepers are recognised by the Academy.

In addition to receiving an MBE, Tenison has been recognised for her business achievements by awards including Business Woman of the Year in 2011 and she has an honourary doctorate of business from the University of East London.

“We are really excited to have an award winning independently minded retailer as our host. Laura is passionate about serving local communities and has hands-on experience of high streets throughout the UK,” said Hayley Pavlou, IAA project manager. “It will be a fantastic opportunity for leading independent retailers to be inspired with new ideas to bring back to their shops.”

The IAA Gala Dinner is a culmination of a nine month long learning and development process for independent retailers, sponsored by many of the UK’s biggest consumer brands and trade suppliers. Enties into the Academy are open until 26 July 2013, so there is still time to enter your business! To put your shop forward for an award, please visit or contact Emma Wilson on 020 7689 3384 or