In celebration of

8th March 2021




Women in Franchising: Stronger Together

EWiF (Encouraging Women into Franchising) recognises the power found in women working together: we are stronger together. Every year, at our annual Awards event, we make a big noise to celebrate the women who are a huge success in their franchising careers. This week, as the Awards event falls in the same week as International Women’s Day, we’re using the opportunity to shout even louder about how women are choosing to challenge themselves, their industries and the naysayers!

For International Women’s day this year, we’re releasing inspirational stories of the finalists of our Woman Franchisor and Women Franchisee award categories. Through them, you will see for yourself the power in collaboration, and the extraordinary lengths many of the women involved in franchising will go to. For their businesses, their networks, and others in their communities. The eight case studies we feature are just a taste of what franchising offers any woman who wants to be in control of her own career, and there are hundreds more like them.

Deborah Dudley

Woman Franchisee of the Year 2021 Finalist

Deborah Dudley was a woman with a dream. A single mother who often had to work two jobs to support her disabled children, she was determined to, one day, have her own business. After years of working in the corporate sector, her time finally came in 2014 when she bought a PACK & SEND franchise. With no previous experience in the postal and delivery sector, but with the full support of her franchisor, Deborah rapidly grew her business. 

Hannah Drury

Woman Franchisee of the Year 2021 Finalist

As well as running her successful care franchise, Caremark Sutton Hannah Drury wanted to make a difference to people in her local community. She created chemo survival kits, given out in memory of her sister who died of cancer. She also invited people to know the people they’re clapping for and created a media campaign, ‘Do You See Me?’. This helped to highlight the important role carers play, every day. Not just during a pandemic.

Sam Wright

Woman Franchisee of the Year 2021 Finalist

Imagine owning a business where your staff needed to enter the homes of vulnerable people during a pandemic. Now imagine having to ensure the safety of not just those clients, but your staff too. You may just have a glimpse into how challenging and exhausting it must have been for Right at Home High Wycombe franchise owner, Sam Wright. Not only did she do all she can to protect staff and clients, but she inspired her team to go the extra mile and see the person, not just the job.

Victoria Rowley

Woman Franchisee of the Year 2021 Finalist

Victoria Rowley, owner of Puddle Ducks East Kent, North Kent & South East London not only had to deal with the pressures of the pandemic, in 2020, she was also recovering from a serious illness which meant learning to walk, again. Undaunted, Victoria used the opportunity to grow her children’s swimming franchise, and expand her business. She was fully by her franchise network, into which she often found ways to give back. 

Julie Wagstaff

Woman Franchisor of the Year 2021 Finalist

Julie Wagstaff has experienced the joys and challenges of franchising as a franchisee and a franchisor. But in her current role, as MD of business coaching franchise, ActionCOACH UK Julie is flourishing. She not only established a ground-breaking new model for the franchise which was adopted by ActionCOACH in 80 countries, she was also the driving force behind the company’s response to the pandemic; including hosting 5,000 pro bono coaching sessions. 

Lucy Campbell

Woman Franchisor of the Year 2021 Finalist

As you can imagine, being the franchisor of Right at Home, a domiciliary care provider with over 60 franchisees, wasn’t easy in 2020. However as the Chief Operating Officer, Lucy Campbell steered the franchise through a stormy 12 months, setting the tone and demonstrating the responses of a true leader. An influential woman in her sector, Lucy also sits on the board of the UKHCA, helping to shape issues in the sector, and is a keen supporter of the Alzheimer’s Society. 

Anna Neville

Woman Franchisor of the Year 2021 Finalist

Early in 2020, things were looking good for children’s language franchise Kidslingo. Turnover was up, more children were attending classes and everything was on course for a successful year. Then… March! And suddenly, everything changed and Anna Neville knew she needed to respond quickly, if her franchise and the network were going to survive. Which included rewriting around 2,500 lesson plans and resources so they were compatible for online learning. It’s not just the parents who struggled with home-schooling!

Claire O’Connor

Woman Franchisor of the Year 2021 Finalist

Within hours of the UK Government telling us to cease all ‘unnecessary social contact’, Claire O’Connor, babyballet franchisor and the winner of last night’s EWiF NatWest Overall Woman in Franchising as chosen by the bfa, already had her first online classes up-and-running. She was determined to do more than just keep her business, and those of her franchisees, just ticking over.

If you’ve been inspired by these stories, why not find your tribe in franchising, and see how franchising really does mean Stronger Together!

With over 900 franchised brands operating in the UK there are so many opportunities to choose from and there really is no excuse to be stuck doing something you don’t enjoy. Take inspiration from some of the people that are living their best lives in franchising and let us help you find something you love!