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LIMA's Kelvyn Gardner on the importance of education - Licensing.biz

LIMA's Kelvyn Gardner on the importance of education

What is it about licensing that produces such a wide, lively business community, but one of which the majority of UK business executives have no knowledge whatsoever?
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I’m not aware of many people in licensing who are not outgoing and expansive, so you think it would get through in normal everyday conversations.

Whatever the truth of it, I worked out a few years ago that, in general terms, UK business was not going to come to us to find out, so we have to go to them if we’re to encourage new brands, properties and licensees to enter the fold. This is where licensing education comes in. I think it’s fair to say that licensing is one of those professions of which it can be said ‘It’s simple to learn but difficult to master’.

Our financial structures are simplicity themselves compared to, for instance, TV or movie rights. However, unless you know this (and most businesses do not) that doesn’t help those of already in licensing. Education is, therefore, rightly a key priority for LIMA both in the UK and internationally. So what sort of educational opportunities does LIMA offer? Here are some examples.

The Licensing Academy at BLE

For the last few years I have opened the three daily sessions with a brief introduction to licensing for visitors. The sessions have been packed out every time, and this is with people who have already made a first step into licensing by coming to BLE.

Licensing Essentials Course

LIMA UK’s single biggest educational event each year, the 2014 event took place on May 22nd. The LEC (for short) sets out to give a thorough grounding in the core skills needed to work in the industry, covering everything from ‘How it works’ to legal and financial aspects, insights into the work of a licensing agency and a licensee, trade and consumer research, retailer relationships, and much more. For 2014 over one hundred business folk of all disciplines attended the course, and we sent them home ready to do business with you, the readers of this article, and our fellow licensing devotees. Many of these new delegates took a further taste of the industry through the networking Spring Fling party that followed.

Young Professionals Networking Party and new Rising Stars Award

On July 24th we’ll stage a great event to support newer licensing execs, with a career talk from Bettina Koeckler, former LIMA board member and currently heading up Fox Consumer Products in London, and the very first UK Rising Stars award, created to mark excellence among new talent rising in the licensing ranks.

During the year LIMA also goes out to other industry sectors to educate. So far this year we’ve been at Spring Fair and London Book Fair, with conferences for the BPMA, The GCA, the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield, and more to come both here and abroad.

Licensing University

At Licensing Expo this month, LIMA stages the single most comprehensive licensing education event in the world. Licensing U has something for everyone, from beginners through to senior executives. You can follow the whole course (and, indeed, sign up to the Certificate of Licensing Studies – CLS) or just dip into specific sessions of interest to you. A few years ago I spoke at a short licensing course for Manchester University students organised by alumnus Jeremy Saul. At the end of my presentation, one Textiles Management student said to me ‘I had no idea that this world existed, I have to rethink my entire career strategy’. I was lost for words. On the one hand, I was delighted to have opened the eyes of undergraduate talent to our exciting business sector, on the other, dumbstruck that one can study this subject in the UK and not at least touch on licensing. It was proof though, that licensing education works. LIMA will be happy to oblige.

LIMA is currently inviting nominations from senior licensing professionals for the junior rising star/s in their team, until Friday July 18th. Rising Stars Award nominees must have between one and seven years of licensing experience; exhibit a commitment to and passion for the UK licensing industry; and demonstrate innovation, initiative and leadership in their careers.

To nominate a colleague for the Rising Stars Award or purchase tickets for the Young Professionals Networking on July 24th event please visit www.licensing.org/uk or contact Ryan Beaird, LIMA Member Services Manager, LIMA UK on 01908 802 863 or email rbeaird@licensing.org.

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