A Cumbrian theatre school principal whose rapidly expanding business is helping children on two continents and providing inspirational role models for ethnic minorities has won a coveted industry award.
Asha Marie Richardson, owner of Razzamataz Theatre Schools South Lakes, is the recipient of a Great British Franchisee Award, the most prestigious honour in the highly competitive franchise sector.
She took over Razzamataz Penrith when it had only 35 students, then rebranded it as Razzamataz South Lakes and opened a school in Appleby and another in Kendal.
“Three years after joining the network, I have almost 350 families coming to more than 20 classes each week for everyone from newborn babies to 18-year-olds,” says Asha.
“My mum is my inspiration and the reason I’ve achieved what I have at Razzamataz.
“She brought up four mixed-race children in a rural area that was pretty much exclusively white, so would have faced her fair share of discrimination.
“For much of this time, she was also a single parent. She was extremely forward-thinking and understood that participation in the arts would help us all with our confidence, transferable skills, and resilience.”
Not having any friends who resembled her when she was a child, Asha does everything she can to encourage diversity and provide role models through her theatre school.
She founded a charity, Ankoma Outreach, when she was only 18 to help children in Ghana with healthcare, sanitation and education.
That led her to launch The Ankoma Dream, an exchange programme that brings students from Ankoma to the UK for a cultural and educational visit.
“Although I didn’t have any business experience, the training, mentoring and support we’re given at Razzamataz has provided me with all the tools I need to be successful,” she adds.
Denise Gosney, Managing Director of Razzamataz, says Asha showed true leadership from day one and is now a valuable part of the Head Office team.
“She not only surpassed expectations by building her business by more than 700% in just over two years, but she supported one of her team members to open their own Razzamataz franchise with huge success,” says Denise.
“She’s also won a number of high-profile accolades, including the British Franchise Association’s Lifestyle Franchisee of the Year, and the Young Women in Franchising of the Year 2023 award in the NatWest Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWiF) Awards.”
- The Great British Franchisee Awards are run by whichfranchise, supported by Lloyds Bank, D&T, IBB Law, AMO Consulting and Chantry Group. https://www.whichfranchise.com/awards/