BLE opens entries for License This! competition

Welcoming a host of new industry faces to the judging panel for 2020, the entry deadline for the competition is 27 August 2020

Written by Georgie Dobie

Posted 27.05.2020 | Events

BLE opens entries for License This! competition thumbnail

Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) has opened entries for its annual License This! competition, which gives young brands and designers a much-needed leg up into the multi-billion-dollar world of licensing and brand extension.

This year’s judges are on the hunt for fresh, exciting new blood across two award categories: Character & Animation and Brand & Design. To qualify, entrants can hail from anywhere in the world, but they must be unsigned: not working with an agent or have any retail deals in place. Entry is free here.

The finalists will be chosen on 11 September by two judging panels, including a bunch of new faces critiquing the Character & Animation category: Asda’s head of buying Ruth Golightly, GB eye’s Head of Licensing Emily Aldridge, C21 Kids editor Nico Franks and Start Licensing founder Ian Downes, who said: “Licensing is an industry that thrives on new ideas and fresh talent. It can be hard to break through sometimes, so a forum like License This! is a very welcome one as it shines a light on creativity. I look forward to seeing this year's entries. Well done BLE for driving License This! forward.”

This year’s two License This! winners will receive a free exhibition stand at BLE 2021, one year’s Licensing International membership, PR support, and invaluable advice from the panel of industry experts. In addition, all finalists will receive legal consultation from competition sponsor Wynne-Jones. Previous entrants – both winners and finalists – have successfully signed lucrative agent and licensing deals off the back of the competition and are championing fellow entrepreneurs to sign up.

Last year’s joint-winner Rosie Brooks said: “It was a really fun experience and it has opened so many doors for me already – I can't wait for BLE this autumn! If you’re thinking about entering this year, all the judges I spoke to said it was about the potential of the idea rather than finished and polished product lines, so if you have an idea you think has the possibility to grow, make lots of prototypes: the more you experiment, the stronger the idea will become.”

Returning judge Will Stewart, founder & MD of The Point.1888, said: “License This! has never been more important. Every industry needs new young brands to be nurtured to build the opportunities of the future. There will be tonnes of home working or furloughed designers who have been doodling over the last couple of months. Be brave and submit your work – the exposure you get, the feedback you get and the confidence you will get are vital. Every year, the quality improves, and what's really impressed me is when designers come back with tweaks based on the previous year’s feedback. Last year’s winner Drew Bristow is a great example of this.”

This year’s judges are confirmed as:

  • Sarah Ward, CEO, The Giftware Association 
  • Victor Caddy, director and trademark & design attorney, Wynne-Jones 
  • Kirsty Barr, client services manager, Wynne-Jones 

Character & Animation award

  • Dan Grant, licensing director, Danilo Promotions                                       
  • Clare Piggott, managing director, Larkshead Media 
  • Ruth Golightly, head of buying, Asda 
  • Emily Aldridge, head of licensing, GB eye 
  • Ian Downes, director, Start Licensing 
  • Nico Franks, editor, C21 Kids 

Brand & Design award

  • Stuart Cox, owner, I Like Birds 
  • Vicki Thomas, owner, Vicki Thomas Associates                                       
  • Sarah Lawrence, director, This is Iris                                 
  • Jehane Boden Spiers, founder, Jehane 
  • Will Stewart, founder and managing director, The Point.1888 

Entry is free here

Image: License This! 2019 competition winners with Kelvyn Gardner and the 2019 judges (bottom right)

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