The nine winners at the annual awards ceremony highlight just how inspiring female franchisors and franchisees can be
You know that old saying about how seeing is believing? Well, that’s doubly true when it comes to promoting women in franchising: the more you see female franchisors and franchisees succeed, you realise just how much the industry will benefit from opening its doors to women.
Fortunately, that’s what Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWIF) is all about as the organisation does exactly what is says on the tin. And this week it highlighted some of the successful and inspirational women in franchising at the NatWest EWIF Awards 2018.
Leaving a career as a successful solicitor to launch a business isn’t for the faint of heart. So it’s encouraging to hear that not only was this exactly what Fiona Simpson did but also that she’s made a huge success of ARTventurers, the children’s arts class franchise. No wonder then that she walked home with the highly coveted Woman Franchisor award.
Few franchises show the importance of finding the right franchisees the way ActionCOACH, the business coaching franchise, does. Therefore it’s hardly surprising that ActionCOACH franchisee Shweta Jhajharia won the Woman Franchisee award.
All industries will stagnate without new blood joining it. So it’s great to see fresh faces in the world of franchising be recognised too. Jo Middleton, founder of Dog First Aid, the canine first aid-teaching franchise, won the New Woman Franchisor title while Julie Houston, franchisee at Right at Home, the care franchise, grabbed the New Woman Franchisee award.
There are impressive franchisees and then there’s Hannah Drury, franchisee at Caremark, the home care franchise. When her step-father passed away, she didn’t hesitate to step into his shoes and keep running his business. And her aptitude for the industry has already awarded her the titles of Young Franchisee of the Year and Franchisee of the Year at the bfa HSBC Franchise Awards 2017. Following EWIF’s ceremony, she can now add the title of Young Woman in Franchising, to this impressive list of accolades.
Fiona Boswell, senior associate, head of franchising and commercial services at Fraser Brown, the law firm, has provided valuable support to over 24 female-led businesses. So walking home with the gong for Service Provider was well deserved.
Regular readers of these hallowed pages are no strangers to Jane Maudsley, founder of Little Voices, the performing arts franchise. Not only has she graced our cover in the past but Maudsley regularly shares her insights in our Franchise Diaries section. Almost ironically, considering her recent piece about how to find inspiration in franchising, EWIF awarded her the Inspirational Woman award.
While it’s easy to think franchising is only about franchisors and franchisees, few businesses would be successful without the employees who drive the companies’ daily business. Therefore it’s brilliant to see EWIF recognise this by awarding Ali Beckman, technical director at Puddle Ducks, the baby-swimming teaching franchise, the title of Woman Franchise Employee after 13 years with the company.
Finally, the NatWest EWIF awards also gave Louise Harris a unique one-off Special Recognition Award. Having been the franchisor at Wilkins Chimney Sweep between 1998 until February this year when she and her husband sold the business, Harris has also been a champion for supporting women in franchising.
We’d like to offer our huge congratulations to all the winners as well as the nominees.