Venture franchisee scoops Gold at bfa Franchisee of the year Awards

The 2008 bfa Franchisee of the Year was announced recently and the gold medal was awarded to a Venture franchisee who has built a multi-unit, multi-million pound business in just two years

The British Franchise Association (bfa) Franchisee of the Year Award 2008 winners have been announced with Venture franchisee Angie Baynes scooping the Gold Award at a black tie gala dinner held at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham. Pirtek franchisee Craig Harrison won the Silver Award and Domino's Pizza franchisee Lisa Tobias picked up the Bronze Award.

'Managing Change' was the theme for this year's award ceremony with candidates demonstrating how they have reacted to and managed different changes, such as changes within the business environment, market and technology. In total there were nine candidates with Angie, Craig and Lisa joined by Autosmart International franchisee Frank Sutherland; Dream Doors franchisee Trevor Conduit; Fastsigns franchisee Jenny Boreham; McDonald's franchisee Mark Richards; Oscar Pet Foods franchisees Neil and Lorraine Stapleton; and Western Provident Associations (WPA) franchisee Christina Temp.

Franchisee Angie Baynes was presented with the Gold Award for her hard work over the last five years. 'I didn't dream that I would be selected for the top award as the standard finalists were so high so when my name was announced on the night I couldn't believe it! Not only is this a massive personal achievement it is fantastic for Venture. Winning the award and seeing ourselves in the national press has caused a real buzz throughout my team and our customers.'

In a short period Angie went from managing her father's own contemporary portrait Venture Studio in Beverly to launching her own Venture franchise in York in 2003 and a second in Hull in 2006. Today she is now the proud owner and Managing Director of a successful £2 million turnover multi-site franchise business. HSBC's Head of Franchising Cathryn Hayes commented: 'Angie is an excellent example of how a new generation of franchisees are committed to driving this important sector forward. Her determination to build a successful business should be an inspiration to anyone thinking about franchising.'

Franchisee Craig Harrison was presented with the Silver Award for his transition from Pirtek employee to franchisee in the space of eight years. Since Craig took over the Stoke-on-Trent territory in 2001 he has gone on to purchase the Wigan and Warrington territories and has built up the business to a combined turnover of £1.8 million.

Franchisee Lisa Tobias walked away with the Bronze Award for her transformation from part-time employee to manager and finally franchisee. Lisa owns four outlets, which generate a combined turnover of £2 million. She says: 'It's fantastic to be one of the winners, the competition was tough so I was thrilled to receive the Bronze Award. The evening was great, I had a huge amount of support there from my family and Domino's head office we all had a great time.

'I intend to put my prize money towards the development of my fifth store, which will hopefully open early next year. My staff were very happy for me but it's a team effort so I couldn't have done it without them!'

Reported by Jess Sturman