Less than two weeks until applications close

Time is running out to enter prestigious BFA event.

Less than two weeks until applications close

Time is running out to enter prestigious BFA event.

Anyone wishing to enter this year’s British Franchise Association (BFA) Awards will need to return their applications by close of play on Friday, July 7th. Franchisors and franchisees are encouraged to take part in this prestigious annual event, which will hold its glittering awards’ ceremony in early November.

Sponsored once again by HSBC, the BFA Awards showcases and recognises the leading performers in the UK’s franchising industry. And the BFA would like to point out that a number of changes have been made to this year’s application process.

Firstly, the ‘Franchisor of the Year’ award has been split into two, following the introduction of a new ‘Lifestyle’ category which recognises part-time franchise opportunities where initial investment is below £12k.

There are two new awards for 2023, under the title ‘Trailblazer’, which will honour positive changes made to businesses by one franchisee and one franchisor. The HSBC Best in Class Multi-Brand award has also been split into two categories: One for ‘Single Brand’ and another for ‘Multi Brand’.

The full list of award categories is as follows:


Franchisor of the Year (established and expanding members only);

Franchisor of the Year Lifestyle (part-time franchise opportunities where investment is under £12k);

Leadership & Culture (for creating collaborative networks and shared success);

Brand Awareness (building strong brand strategies which connect teams, networks, and local communities);

Franchisor Trailblazer (leading the way with winning strategies);

Emerging Franchisor (franchisors who recruited their first franchisee no longer than three years ago);


Lifestyle Franchisee (franchisees with a maximum turnover of £500k and a minimum trading time of 24 months);

Next Generation (franchisees aged 30 and under);

Community Focus (making a difference. For franchisees of BFA Members);

Franchisee Trailblazer (for franchisees of BFA Members);

HSBC Best in Class Multi-Unit Single Brand (for all multi-unit franchisees within the same brand. A minimum of two, and a maximum of 10, fully operational franchise locations. Plus a minimum trading history of three years);

HSBC Best in Class Multi-Unit Multi Brand (for all multi-unit franchisees across different franchise brands. There needs to be a minimum of 10 fully operational franchise locations, and a minimum trading history of three years. Franchisees from non-member BFA brands are welcome to enter);

Franchisee of the Year (people’s choice).

“We want to know how changes in a business have affected franchisees. For example, if a franchisor has installed a new CRM system, then please tell us what difference this has made to the network. Similarly, if a franchisee has expanded their business, we want to hear what this has meant for their customers. We want facts, figures and statistics but we also need to hear the stories behind the data too.”

The awards are sponsored by global institution HSBC, whose UK head of franchise (commercial banking), Gillian Morris, said: “The BFA Awards ceremony is the highlight of the year. The journey starts in July with the initial shortlisting, in which Pip Wilkins and I spend a week reviewing each individual entry. Every year we hear amazing stories detailing how franchisees and franchisors have excelled. 

“It’s also a difficult challenge to shortlist only three entries per category. Once more, HSBC UK is proud to sponsor the awards and we look forward to celebrating the industry’s collective success, innovation and hard work.”

One of the stories which stood out 12 months ago was that of Ellena Morgan who won the ‘Next Generation Franchisee’ award. Ellena is a franchisee for Little Voices, and runs the Lancashire territory of Fylde. Ellena, who lost her partner during a difficult year, said: “Winning the award meant so much to me. It was a huge acknowledgement that all the hard work my team and I had put in was worth it.

“The parents of the children I teach were absolutely thrilled about it too and they shared all my social media posts about our success. I would recommend anyone to enter this event. Even just filling out the application form gave me a chance to assess how far I’d come since starting the business.”

And this message is echoed by Emily Price, the chief operating officer of the BFA Academy, who added: “We sometimes hear people say they won’t enter the Awards because they don’t think they’ll win.

“Some even think it is some kind of closed shop, where only established brands are honoured. But that’s simply not true. Roughly, 30% of last year’s winners had never entered the BFA awards before. So give it a try. We offer ‘tips’ on how to write applications, helping you to promote your stories and relevant data.”

Nigel Dawson, co-founder and franchise director at easyStorage – the winner of the ‘Emerging Franchisor’ award in 2022 – said: “It was a huge honour to win on our very first attempt. When we started easyStorage we were in the privileged position of being able to build it properly from the ground up. Having been in franchising for 35 years, I knew what ‘good’ looked like, and I also knew what ‘bad’ looked like.

“Winning the award demonstrated to our franchisees that there is method behind what they may perceive as ‘madness.’ We drive them hard and ask a lot of them because we know we are doing it the right way. I would recommend any franchisor to enter the Awards to give their network confidence in their leadership and growth strategy.”

Deadline for entries is July 7th, with the awards’ ceremony being held on November 9th. Full details can be found by clicking here.

Note: The British Franchise Association (BFA) is the voluntary self-regulating governing body for franchising. It was formed in 1977 by franchising organisations that wanted to promote franchise systems which satisfied a strict ethical and business criteria.

Business format franchising is the granting of a license by one person (the franchisor) to another (the franchisee). This entitles the franchisee to trade under the trade mark/trade name of the franchisor.  The BFA has a full list of its members, and the code of ethics to which these members subscribe, on its website: www.thebfa.org.

Andy Swales
Andy Swales