BLE’s Retail Mentoring Programme sees record-breaking numbers ahead of application closure this week

A record breaking 84 delegates from 21 retailers have already signed up to this year’s Brand Licensing Europe’s Retail Mentoring Programme, with applications still being accepted until the closing bell on Friday, May 28th.

The influx of participants in this year’s programme include eight new comers to the scene, with international retailers GameStop and Bershka among the course’s first ever European brands. The increased uptake from overseas retailers has been credited with the offering of a fully virtual as well as hybrid option for this year’s programme.

New retailers to have signed up for the free-to-attend, CPD-accredited course include not only GameStop and Bershka, by Maqio, Merlin Entertainments, RSPCA, The Hut Group, Vanilla Underground, and ZSL. The programme boasts a vast number of high calibre alumni, including the likes of Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Halfords, Ann Summers, Toymaster, and The Entertainer.

Arleene Rodríguez, licenses department coordinator and buyer at El Corte Inglés, took part in a trial run with European retailers in 2020.

She said: “I would most definitely recommend the Retail Mentoring Programme to other retailers because it’s a great experience. Not only do you get to learn very insightful and helpful things to better understand the industry and how it works, but if you already have some knowledge, you’ll get to review many concepts, see things in a different or new perspective, and of course get to meet a lot of people from the industry that also love the licensing world and can help you see the potential in your business.”

Retail Mentoring Programme delegate benefits include:

  • May: One-hour introductory meeting (virtual)
  • 17 – 18 June, over two half-days: Licensing Essentials Course delivered by Licensing International (virtual)
  • June: The option to virtually drop into Max Publishing’s Licensing Awards judging day and cast a vote
  • August-October: Spend around 2.5 hours on a personalised brand owner experience day (live and/or virtual)
  • 5 November: Half-day Licensing for Retail seminar (live/virtual)
  • 17-19 November: VIP admission to Brand Licensing Europe, where retailers can spend up to three days at Europe’s leading licensing event (live/virtual)

Anna Knight, VP of licensing, Informa Markets, said: “It is amazing that we’ve broken records and over 80 retailers will be joining us on the Retail Mentoring Programme for 2021. It’s no secret that non-essential retail has struggled throughout the pandemic, and the number of entries we have received is reflective of the difference brand licensing can make at retail and the growing trend among consumers to purchase branded product.

“Applications for this year’s programme will remain open until Friday 28 May – 2021 is going to be a pivotal year for retail, so I strongly recommend you don’t miss out.”

Retailers can apply for a free delegate place on the programme here. Applications will remain open until Friday 28 May.

Brand Licensing Europe opens applications and extends Retail Mentoring Programme to Europe

Retailers are being invited to apply for a place on Brand Licensing Europe’s 2021 Retail Mentoring Programme, with the offer of participation in the free-to-attend course being extended to retailers from Europe as well as the UK, for the first time.

Made possibly by the organiser’s adoption of a fully virtual as well as hybrid event this year, the BLE Retail Mentoring Programme can now celebrate its 11th year with a greater European reach.

Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Selfridges, Halfords, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Toymaster, The Entertainer, and Morrisons are among the hundrends of alumni of the annual event that is delivered through a series of seminars, workshops, and one-to-one consultancy sessions.

The 2021 BLE Retail Mentoring Programme schedule will include a one hour introductory meeting this May, a Licensing Essentials Course delivered by Licensing International this June 17th and 18th, the chance to virtually attend the Licensing Awards judging day and cast a vote this June, and spend two and a half hours on a personalised brand owner experience day between August and September this year.

The schedule will also include a half day Licensing for Retail seminar this November 5th, and VIP admission to Brand Licensing Europe running from November 17th to 19th this year.

Anna Knight, VP of Licensing, Informa Markets, said: “We come across branded consumer products everyday – from V&A notebooks to Pokémon backpacks – but it’s not always obvious how brands can help to drive footfall and create additional revenue for retailers.

“The Retail Mentoring Programme offers European retailers the chance to better understand every aspect of brand licensing and provides them with all the tools needed to successfully get branded consumer products onto store shelves.

“With the growing importance for retailers to stand-out, the programme covers everything from identifying new trends, finding and securing the right partners and suppliers, and driving a great customer experience through branded products. It means so much to us that we’ve been able to support over 400 retailers on the programme over the last 11 years, and we’re really excited we can now welcome European retailers to join us for 2021.”

Retail Mentoring Programme delegate benefits include:

  • Insight from best-in-class retailers, agents and brand owners on how successful licensing partnerships are delivered across a range of categories from apparel to homeware
  • Brand owner experience days where retailers can spend a day (in-person or online) with a leading brand to better understand what goes into a successful licensing partnership
  • Brand discovery sessions – find out who owns what brands and how to build relationships
  • Visual merchandising workshops – learn how to make consumer products stand-out online and in-store
  • Introductions to important new contacts and social events within the licensing industry
  • Practical insights into building a licensing programme
  • Understanding critical legal, technical, financial and licensing terminology

Retailers can apply for a free delegate place on the programme here. Applications will remain open until Friday 28 May.

Brand Licensing Europe opens applications for 2020’s Retail Mentoring Programme

Brand Licensing Europe has opened applications for this year’s Retail Mentoring Programme, marking the tenth year of the initiative that helps introduce UK retailers to the licensing scene.

To date, the programme has seen over 300 industry professionals take part since its launch in 2011, with a record-breaking 80 participants in 2019, an increase of 48 per cent over the 2018 edition.

“The Retailing Mentoring Programme offers an in-depth introduction into the world of licensing and unique access to some of the industry’s most important players,” said Anna Knight, VP, Global Licensing Group.

“The wealth of expertise and insight on offer to buyers, creatives and managers is immense. That we’ve seen so many people across a range of sectors participate in the programme, demonstrates its value and scope, with the 2020 edition set to be the best yet.”

An opportunity for retailers to learn about the benefits and fundamentals of licensing, BLE’s Retail Mentoring Programme is a Continuing Professional Development accredited course offering insight into the licensing industry to help retail teams gain a competitive edge when identifying new brand partners and negotiating licensing deals.

The Retail Mentoring Programme runs from the spring until Brand Licensing Europe and is delivered through workshops, seminars and one-to-one consultancy sessions. Valued at £499, the programme is offered free to qualifying retailers.

In addition to the course, participants will also receive a place at the Licensing Essentials Course and Spring Fling in May, organised in conjunction with Licensing International; an invitation to judge the Licensing Awards organised by Max Events; a place at the Retail Mentoring Programme’s closing Licensing for Retail conference, and access to exclusive retail content at BLE, including the retail trends lounge.

Those taking part will also receive a day with a licensor to help them understand licensing from the brand-owner side, as well as receiving tips on how to work effectively with some of the world’s best-known properties and agents.

Previous hosts have included eOne, NBCUniversal, Natural History Museum, Penguin, The Point.1888, and Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products.

Emma Edwards, buyer for four to 14 girls wear at Asda George described enrolling on the 2019 edition of the Retail Mentoring Programme as “the best way I could’ve been introduced into the world of licensing.”

“There was so much opportunity on the course to learn from industry professionals and the seminars really did offer a wealth of key and concise information in such a short amount of time,” she said.

Retailers can apply to take part in the programme online. BLE welcomes applications from:


  • Buyers, designers, merchandisers and marketers with existing licensing programmes
  • Buyers, designers, merchandisers and marketers engaged in licensing but want further development
  • Teams who would like to learn how to develop their licensing relationships
  • Teams looking for cross-category opportunities
  • Individuals new to retail and hoping to develop their career and expertise within licensing

35 retailers participated in the 2019 Retail Mentoring Programme including: Amazon, Asda George,, The Entertainer, Fat Face, Hamleys, John Lewis, Jo Jo Maman Bebe, M&Co, Moonpig, Morrisons Nutmeg, Next, Pep & Co, River Island, Sainsbury’s Argos, Sainsbury’s Tu, Tesco and Truffle Shuffle.