Two women have been revealed as the winners of this year’s bfa (British Franchise Association) HSBC Franchise of the Year Awards. The event, which takes place annually, aims to acknowledge global franchise owners for their ethical and entrepreneurial achievements. This year saw 17 finalists chosen for five individual categories, including: Female Franchisee of the Year, Customer Service, Long Serving, Micro Business of the Year and Youngest Franchisee of the Year. The prize not only included being named “The UK’s Overall Franchisee of the Year” but also an opportunity to take home £10,000, supported by HSBC.
The overall first place went to Janis Anderson, a care provider of Caremark, a franchise which provides community and in home care for people of all ages. Janis was also awarded the winner of The Female Franchisee of the Year category. Speaking at the event she said “It’s brilliant to be recognised for all the hard work which contributes towards Caremark’s success.”
Additionally Shweta Jhajharia was announced as winner of the Special Judge's Award, after being a finalist in the Female Franchisee of the Year category. Shweta, a business coach for global franchise ActionCOACH, has smashed targets and became the most successful franchise partner in Europe within three years of starting her business. Out of more than one thousand coaches globally, Shweta is now in the top five. Due to Shweta’s impressive history, she became the first candidate to receive a Special Judge's Award at the event, which was unanimously agreed by all four judges, making her the runner up in the overall event. She said “I am delighted and honoured to accept this prestigious award. I see this as an acknowledgement of everyone who strives to excel at what they do despite all odds, and who makes a lasting difference to their community”.
ActionCOACH is the world’s number one business coaching company and has been running in the UK since 2002. In 2012 they were awarded joint runner up with franchise restaurant McDonald’s for the UK’s Best Large Franchisor. This year their success reached new heights when Compare the Financial Markets awarded ActionCOACH the title of the UK’s Best Business Opportunity in 2013. Following the business coaching's latest honour, ActionCOACH's UK Recruitment Director Julie Wagstaff said: “We’re so pleased that Shweta was awarded the Judge's Award, she’s shown that a woman can successfully devote herself to both family and building a business and through immense grit has blasted away at records across ActionCOACH and the franchisee community. It’s a great honour to see her success and inspirational story recognised.”
Furthermore, bfa director general Brian Smart said: “Every year we are overwhelmed by the sheer quality of the winners and with the new awards introduced this year, we were thrilled to see such strong businesspeople in each category. The passion through which the winners drive their businesses forward is captivating. They are true trailblazers in their industries and it is fantastic to be celebrating their business excellence at this year’s awards.”
The finalists support recent information posted by the Office for National Statistics which suggests the number of female entrepreneurs is on the rise. According to figures the amount of females entering the entrepreneurial market has risen by 9.6% in comparison to slow rising figures for men which is at a mere 3.3% increase.