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Countdown to Empowerment: BFA's EWIB Event Set to Ignite the Power of British Businesswomen

The British Franchise Association (BFA) has launched EWIB (Encouraging Women In Business) 2023, designed to empower women in the business world. The theme of the day is ‘Making your moments count.’

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EWIB will be held at the Select Car Leasing Stadium (formerly the Madejski Stadium) in Reading on Wednesday 27th September 2023. The event is open to all women, not just BFA members, and tickets can be purchased via the BFA website.

EWIB is proudly sponsored by McDonald’s Restaurants, Platinum Wave Franchising, The Franchising Centre and Citation.

CEO of the BFA Pip Wilkins emphasised the significance of the event: “Some people question the need to have women’s only events in 2023 but, despite the unequivocal rise of the female businesswoman and the success of women in the franchise sector, women still lag significantly behind their male counter parts in most other areas in business.”

Wilkins further explained: “Aside from the well reported pay gap of 14.9%[i] for women, meaning women in employment effectively work for free for the first 54 days of the year[ii], they are also conspicuous by their absence in senior roles, with, according to a 2022 Government report[iii], only one in three leadership roles and around 25% of all executive committee roles being held by women. The good news is that nearly 40% of UK FTSE 100 board positions are now held by women, compared with 12.5% just 10 years ago, which is great news, but we mustn’t take our foot off the gas just yet.”

Wilkins noted: “Franchising, runs on entrepreneurs, those who choose to franchise their existing businesses, or to invest in a franchise and run their own business. Both take bravery and a willingness to step out of the employed comfort zone, but sadly, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2021/2022 Women’s Entrepreneurship Report, there were half as many female-established business owners as there were males in 2020.”[iv]

The Covid pandemic affected entrepreneurial women badly. Startup rates for women dropped by 15% from 2019 to 2020. Women in upper–middle-income countries showed the largest pandemic impact on business exits, with a 74% increase from 2019 to 2021, compared to only 34% for men.

Wilkins remarked: “Franchising relies on entrepreneurial men and women, we need to ignite those fires, sow those seeds and encourage women to launch and run their own businesses.”

Imposter syndrome

Wilkins stated: “One of the reasons I am so passionate about EWIB is our chance to make women believe in themselves. It is a well-known fact that women suffer from imposter syndrome, even as the CEO of a national association there are still days when I question my abilities; fortunately, I have a very supportive team here at the BFA who I can talk to, but not everyone has that back up and support. We’d like EWIB to be that back up for our guests, to make them believe in themselves.”

Out of their depth

According to a report by QuickBooks earlier this year, 33% of female business owners reported that they have felt out of their depth daily, weekly, or monthly compared to just 18% of males. 42% of males say they ‘never’ feel out of their depth[v].

Wilkins remarked: “It’s events like EWIB that allow us to put women in front of powerful female role models, engage them in fruitful conversations and empower them to go on and lead their best business lives, believing in themselves, their abilities and ultimately, benefitting the British economy.”

Line up and keynote speakers

The first keynote speaker of the day will be BBC 1’s The Apprentice winner Harpreet Kaur; this will be followed by six speed sessions, tackling topics from coaching and building positive circles to being self-aware and not creating barriers to success.

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The second keynote speaker is former interviews producer for BBC 2’s flagship news programme ‘Newsnight’, Sam McAlister, followed by an interactive panel of leading ladies in franchising.

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The final keynote speaker of the day is double FA Women’s Cup winner and three-time Premiere/Super League champion Eniola Aluko, one of the leading figures in women’s football.

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Pip concluded: “Although EWIB is organised by the BFA and attended by hundreds of women in franchising, I want to stress that this event is not just for the franchise community, and I would encourage any woman to attend. Attendees can look forward to spending a day with like-minded women in an inclusive atmosphere where they will be warmly welcomed and leave the day feeling educated, engaged, and enthused.”







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