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Ratner to address business awards

10:03 am, January 23, 2009

The tycoon who almost ruined the world’s biggest jeweller by publicly dismissing one of his own products as “total crap” will hope for a more favourable reaction when he speaks at this year’s Cornwall Business Awards.

It is almost 18 years since Gerald Ratner’s infamous speech to the Institute of Directors caused a global sensation, and forced him to step down from the family business he had grown into a billion-pound plc.

Now successful once again with an online diamond retailer, ‘Sultan of Bling’ Ratner will let Cornwall’s leading companies in on some of the lessons learned as he made – and then bounced back from – one of the biggest business gaffes of all time.

Entries are already flooding in for the coveted Awards, organised by Cornwall Enterprise, in partnership with the South West Regional Development Agency and Business Link.

Fifteen prize categories will spotlight the county’s most successful and innovative businesses, and Ratner is looking forward to meeting the eventual winners.

“It’s always great to see companies succeed by thinking a little differently,” he said, “especially under the current, difficult market conditions.

“I’ve already had a rollercoaster of a career, and if some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way can help these guys to succeed, I’ll be really delighted.”

Cornwall Enterprise managing director John Berry added:  “The Cornwall Business Awards is always a wonderful, high-profile celebration of business achievement, and this year will be no different.  Resilience is a key factor in growing companies – not least in the current climate – and Gerald’s story will be fascinating to hear.”

The closing date for applications for the Cornwall Business Awards is Friday, February 27th.  The Awards will be presented on Thursday, 14th May at St Mellion International Hotel, Golf and Country Club.

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