The Edinburgh-based Autosmart franchise owner has won one of the most prestigious awards in British franchising.

Keith Ellwood has been named as the Franchisee of the Year Gold Award Winner at this year’s 2012 bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards. At the Awards he also named the Scotland and Northern Ireland Regional Winner.

The judges were impressed with Ellwood’s determination and passion for his business, which he has been operating for the past 15 years. Over the last year, Ellwood has implemented innovative new systems to boost productivity, including investing in a new onboard computer system, a larger showroom and new payment methods. Not only have these systems contributed to an extremely successful business year for Ellwood, but they have also improved customer relationships.

Commenting on his success, Ellwood said: “Winning this award and receiving the recognition from the industry is a fantastic feeling. I really enjoy running my franchise, this year more so than ever, and I’m looking forward to building on this success with potential opportunities and driving my business forward.”

Cathryn Hayes, Head of Franchising at HSBC, added: “This year’s finalists have clearly demonstrated a passion for their business – support from their franchisor and other franchisees in their network means that they are not in business alone which has allowed them to really focus on delivering excellent customer service, a common thread running through their stories. Keith demonstrated how tenacious customer relationship management can help shape business growth. His enthusiasm for his business is clear and his work over the past 12 months has propelled his business towards a phenomenal future.”

Other winners at the awards were:
Franchisee of the Year Silver Award – Ron Mounsey, McDonald’s Restaurants (Swansea)
Franchisee of the Year Bronze Award – Eve Kay, Jo Jingles (Frodsham, Cheshire)
London and the South East Regional – Gurpreet Bains, Driver Hire (London)
The Midlands and North Wales Regional – Steven Prime, Esquires (Coventry)
The North Regional – Eve Kay, Jo Jingles (Frodsham, Cheshire)
The South West and Wales – Ron Mounsey, McDonald’s Restaurants (Swansea)