The IPSE-QA Awards are the jewel in the crown of National Freelancers Day. Our venue for the evening was the Hospital Club, in the heart of London’s Covent Garden. It was opened by Microsoft’s Paul Allen, and Dave Steward of Eurythmics, with a mission statement to create a hub of creativity – full of people, ideas, music and life. The impressive talent of our finalists meant this was the perfect setting.
IPSE Chairman James Collings kicked things off by setting out what the day was all about – the dedicated and talented people striking out on their own. “Freelancing has a really positive future. There are now 1.91 million freelancers in the UK, who combined, contribute £109 billion pounds to the UK economy. And, it will be no surprise to see the number of freelancers and their contribution to our economy increase over the next few years,” said James by way of introduction. “It has been an exceptionally busy and successful 12 months for IPSE and the awards are the cherry on top.”
Guiding us through the evening with some hilarious advice on how to get ahead as a freelancer, was leading light in comedy, Tom Rosenthal, known for his work in TV shows like Friday Night Dinners and Plebs. As a freelancer himself, Tom was clearly enthused at the opportunity to host an awards for the best talent in the industry.
The evening paid tribute to 15 outstanding independent professionals. They came from every part of the country, working in every industry you could put your mind to. From a young freelance wine consultant to an expert crime scene investigator, our finalists represented the breadth and diversity of freelancing in the UK.
David Walker, from headline sponsor QA, was the first keynote speaker to be introduced to the stage. David urged the audience to leverage technology, stating that businesses large and small should think like freelancers. For an in-depth interview with David go to page 14.
While all of our finalists should be incredibly proud, there could only be one winner. Well, make that two. IPSE recognises the work of impressive young freelancers with its Aspire award, and those truly at the top of their game with the Inspire award. Read on for interviews with our worthy winners.
Lauren Razavi was crowned winner in the Aspire category. She is a freelance journalist from Norwich and was handed her Inspire award by Nick Biggam, Commercial Director of Cashplus - the Business Account from APS financial. The Inspire award, for the more established freelancer, was handed over by Chief Executive of Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance Steve Wynne. It was awarded to the wonderful Emmeline Pidgen, an impressively talented Lancashire based illustrator who wowed the judges with her passion for freelancing.
The final keynote speaker was bestselling author Christer Holloman, who gave advice on how to improve your brand – something the awards certainly provided to all our finalists. Chris Bryce signed off with powerful words on what freelancers need in order to be successful. “They need to get paid on time, get a fair price for the services they deliver, retain rights for the intellectual property they produce. IPSE exists to help them do just that.”
And with the final “that”, the night was brought to a close, our winners taking the opportunity to celebrate and network late into the evening. Guests were surrounded by beautiful hanging prints from IPSE’s #BeFreeToCreate campaign. The IPSE awards truly celebrated our nation’s finest freelancers.