“Our Razzamataz families and ethos is at the heart of what we do and I’m proud to be part of it. My heart is just so full.”   

Young Woman of the Year: Asha Marie Richardson Razzamataz Theatre Schools South Lakes 

One of two winners for this fiercely fought category, Asha is determined to create inclusive spaces where children can grow in confidence and ability. 

EWIF is about inspiring and supporting women to fulfil their true potential, so nothing makes us happier than seeing the younger generations becoming the leaders they were meant to be. Our Young Woman in Franchising award is about celebrating those rising stars. This year, we were so overwhelmed by the quality of the nominees we couldn’t settle on just one winner, but two! 

One of this year’s joint winners is Asha Marie Richardson, who owns a Razzamataz Theatre School in South Lakes, Cumbria. Her story is particularly fascinating, as she started out working as a teacher for another Razzamataz franchise owner. If you’re not familiar with the franchise, Razzamataz offers performing art lessons to children all around the country, with everything from dance and drama, to music and acrobatic arts. Their mission is to make performing arts available to all young people no matter their background or circumstances. 

Asha embraced her role as a teacher, but it wasn’t long before she realised she’d found her true passion in life and set out to open her own franchise. In the last two years alone, she grew her business by more than 700%, mentored one of her own teachers to become a franchisee too, and spearheaded a number of highly successful projects for Head Office. Asha has shown herself to be a brilliant businesswoman, mentor and leader. 

“It’s not often I’m short for words, but honestly, I am just so proud of us all at Razzamataz South Lakes,” Asha told us. “To be recognised amongst some of the most inspirational, hardworking, dedicated, and loyal ladies within the franchising industry is phenomenal. I’m grateful to everyone who’s been on this journey with me and continues to guide, support and inspire me daily.” 

Asha has not only created the career she always dreamed about, but continues to be heavily involved in all manner of charity activities, including one of her own creation! Last summer, she spent six weeks leading a team of young people to visit schools in Ghana, inspiring local children with the power of performance, and encouraging them to embrace their educational opportunities.  

Did we mention she has managed all this while also raising two young children of her own? 

“I often joke I’m a champion plate spinner but actually, I’ve just taught myself to delegate and let others ride the waves with me. I have the most incredible, supportive team around me who are dedicated to Razzamataz and our art, which led to us becoming leaders in our community and our sector.” 

Sounds like we could all learn a lot from you and your team, Asha!  

Franchising offers all women the chance to ‘be their own boss’. Organisations like Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWiF) and The British Franchise Association (bfa) provide support to women wanting to enter franchising with services like EWiF’s volunteer mentors and the bfa’s free online Prospect Franchisee Certificate.