Lord Stafford Awards in focus for Stoke ‘picture’ entrepreneur
Online picture library focuses in on innovative title
[UKPRwire, Mon Oct 29 2007] An online image library that is looking to revolutionise the way individuals and businesses access pictures has been shortlisted for a major accolade at the Lord Stafford Awards.
Jane-Louise Green, a former television news director for the BBC, is down to the last three in the ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit’ category after providing an ‘alternative’ to the multi-billion corporate forces of ‘Getty’ and ‘Corbis’ through her new enterprise picturenation.co.uk.
Backed by significant support from Business Link West Midlands and Staffordshire University, the local entrepreneur has created an online platform for the general public to sell their digital photographs.
The company already has 20,000 individually checked images available and its innovative approach has attracted great interest from the education sector.
“From my years as a journalist and researcher, I knew there was a real need for a ‘supermarket’ type picture library that was cost effective, high quality and did not infringe any of the royalty issues that people and companies often fall foul of,” explained Jane, who combined the start-up process with looking after her 5 month-old baby.
She continued: “There isn’t anything like Picture Nation (PN) in the UK at the moment. Registration is simple, anyone can upload their images for approval, you can make 40% commission on your work and, photographers keep the copyright so are free to sell them elsewhere too.
“If Getty is the Harrods of image providers, our business will be the Tesco’s equivalent and we all know how successful that retailer is.”
Picture Nation, which has 1000 hobby and professional photographers (aged between 11 and 75) now registered, has been designed to take industry jargon out of the equation so that anyone from individuals and businesses, to marketing agencies and news channels can gain quick and easy access to the library.
The company is also building a pictorial record of 21st century Britain, with great shots of travel, culture, ethnic festivals and traditional and emerging industries. In essence, you could log on and get a unique angle on the Taj Mahal or an in-depth picture of fish and chips.
With royalty free images available from as little as 28p, Jane is equally keen to build up a bank of ‘local’ shots for the UK’s villages, town and cities, starting with where she is based.
“How great would it be for Stoke-on-Trent businesses and schools to be able to get high quality ‘local’ pictures for their projects?” added Jane.
“Education is a major growth area for our business with PN now Approved Retailers and Providers for Curriculum Online across all Key Stages. We’ve just signed contracts with the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and Government allocated eLearning Credits can be used to buy images for interactive whiteboards, computers and print outs.
“A lot of schools think they can simply lift pictures off the internet and don’t realise the copyright or technical issues associated with this. By using Picture Nation, they can take potentially expensive litigation charges out of the equation.”
2007 marks the ten year anniversary of the Lord Stafford Awards, which showcases West Midlands companies who have worked with universities and innovation programmes to develop new products and processes.
Judges for this year’s competition have been impressed at the close working relationship between Picture Nation and Staffordshire University, with Jane receiving start-up advice and ongoing business mentoring.
She has subsequently sold 10% of shares to the University in return for office space at the Stoke Business Village and 2 years’ salary for 1 graduate employee.
Lord Stafford, Patron of the Awards, concluded:
“Jane has tapped into one of the UK’s fastest growing opportunities and, using academic resources and expertise, has created an innovative and commercially viable business.
“Staffordshire University will also have a perfect online platform to promote and develop their thriving photographic department.”
Held at the NEC on November 15th, the Lord Stafford Awards is the showpiece of Advantage West Midlands’ first ever Festival of Innovation and will once again honour companies and individuals in four categories, including ‘Impact through Innovation’, ‘Achievement in Innovation’, ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit’ and ‘Knowledge Transfer Champion’.