Posted on Thursday 18 July 2013 by Ulster Business

Ivory and Pearl Boutique

Kate Speers, founder of Comber-based wedding retailer, Ivory & Pearl, has beaten hundreds of small businesses to be shortlisted in the national Nectar Business Small Business Awards 2013.

Ivory & Pearl is just weeks away from finding out if it will win the Start-up of the Year category, which is judged by a panel of experts including leading businesswoman and star of BBC1’s The Apprentice, Karren Brady.

If successful, Ivory & Pearl will win £2,000 cash, 50,000 Nectar points and the prestigious title. What’s more Kate will be invited to the Nectar Business Round Table event, which will take place in September, where she will meet and get business advice from lead judge, Karren Brady.

Founder, Kate Speers created Ivory & Pearl as a consumer facing extension of her B2B business, Sprinkles of Love, which supplies wedding decorations to wedding planners. The company has a selected range of wedding dress styles to suit every bride, from romantic to vintage and buys in designs that are exclusive to Ivory & Pearl inNorthern Ireland.

Kate Speers commented: “I’m delighted to be shortlisted in the Nectar Business Small Business Awards. The success of my business has come from an intimate knowledge of the bridal industry and its current trends which has enabled me to exclusively purchase dresses that are set apart from what was previously available inNorthern Ireland. I would love to win this award as I admire Karren Brady tremendously and to be able to get first hand advice from her about my business would be really valuable in taking us to the next level. The £2,000 prize money and 50,000 Nectar points will be used to open other bridal boutiques inIrelandto provide a highly competitive positioning for Ivory & Pearl in the Irish bridal market.”

Ivory & Pearl will now be judged by a panel of business experts, including Karren Brady, Nectar Marketing Director, James Frost, Brakes Marketing Director, David Hughes and Chris Li, founder of Luxury For Less and winner of the Nectar Business Small Business of the Year Award 2012.

James Frost, Marketing Director at Nectar says: “The standard of entries into the Nectar Business Small Business Awards has been exceptionally high this year and with an 80% increase in the number of entries, competition is clearly fierce.

“The Start-up of the Year award is looking for an exceptional new business that is able to demonstrate excellence, innovation and growth or longevity potential. We wish all the shortlisted candidates, including Ivory & Pearl, the best of luck.”

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