The top independent retailers in the UK convenience channel will be challenged to innovate and better serve their customers by retail entrepreneur Jeff Pearce at the 2014 Independent Achievers Academy Gala Dinner in London on 26 November.

With a retailing career spanning over fifty years, Jeff has built up three successful independent high street operations and is currently working on a fourth. The award-winning retailer is also the author of best-selling autobiography A Pocketful of Holes and Dreams,detailing his experiences of literally turning rags into riches and the inspirational story of having to re-build his business after going bust in the 90s. Remarkably, Jeff battled illiteracy until the age of 53, when he overcame his dyslexia and wrote his autobiography.

“Jeff has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in independent retail. His fascinating story of overcoming adversity to reach greater heights will inspire our Academy retailers to continue to develop their business strategies,” said event producer Caroline Cronin.

At the IAA launch event earlier this year, retailers and suppliers heard how engaging with the Academy’s toolkit of ideas helped High Wycombe retailer Raaj Chandarana grow sales by £2,000 a week. Entries for 2014 have now closed but retailers are still able to join the Academy to begin work on their development ready for 2015. For more information, please visit betterretailing.com/IAA.

To book your table at the Gala Dinner, which will be held at Sheraton Park Lane Hotel on 26 November 2014, visit betterretailing.com/galadinner