Children’s swim school franchise, Puddle Ducks are celebrating as their franchisee from East Kent, North Kent and South East London, Victoria Rowley was named as ‘Woman Franchisee of the Year’ at the recent 2021 NatWest Encouraging Women into Franchising Awards (EWIF).
Victoria purchased her Puddle Ducks franchise in 2015, becoming the network’s youngest ever franchisee at the age of 24. She has since moved on to become a shining light in the Puddle Ducks network, leading the way with her hard work and dedication, innovative thinking and continuous support for her fellow franchisees.
Puddle Ducks has not had the easiest year, with the numerous lockdown periods meaning their lessons have been unable to run properly during 2020. However, Victoria has continued to grow personally and professionally throughout the past year. Victoria bought her business partner’s share in the company as well as a neighbouring territory, taking on more pools and classes.
Victoria helped to support her network throughout the lockdown periods, becoming an integral part of the ‘Return to Classes Focus Group’. She not only kept all of her teachers and poolside assistants in a job throughout lockdown, but actually created further positions and supported six new teachers and one poolside assistant through their training processes.
She kept in contact with her team regularly to keep them updated whilst they were out of the pool, as well as checking in on their mental health and wellbeing, making sure they were all safe and well throughout a difficult time.
Alongside the difficulties that the pandemic has brought to her business, Victoria has also been tackling a personal illness which left her with a long and tricky journey to recovery, involving having to learn to walk again.
Jo Stone, co-founder and managing director of Puddle Ducks commented: “Victoria is a shining example in our network. She has endless ambition and desire to achieve her goals and constantly delivers. She is selfless in her approach and despite her personal situation continued to be a support for both her fellow franchisees and Head Office. Congratulations to Victoria for winning this award, which is well deserved!”
Victoria commented: “I am absolutely astounded and so incredibly proud to win! To be nominated and make the finals for a second year running was amazing enough, but to then go on and win exceeded my expectations! I’m hoping this award will highlight what an amazing team we have. Everyone is so hardworking and driven to providing the best learning experience for our babies and children to learn how to swim. I feel proud to have won and thank everyone at Puddle Ducks HQ and EWiF for putting me forward and choosing me as the winner.”
Puddle Ducks franchisees have been supported throughout the year by their Head Office team, and the whole network are excited to get back to lessons soon. If you are interested in becoming a Puddle Ducks franchisee, please call 01477410083 or visit https://www.puddleducks.com/franchising.