women in franchising

When it comes to women in business, franchising has long been ahead of the curve.

Some 30% of the UK's 40,000 franchisee businesses are owned and run by women, according to the bfa/NatWest Franchise Survey. That's higher than the rate of female SME ownership across the UK - 18%, according to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills - but we want to see it climb higher still.

With four of the last seven individual winners of the bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Award being women, their achievements are well-documented and recognised.

As for franchisors, there are numerous national and international brands that have been founded and grown by women here in the UK, or are led and run by them.

Find out more about some of the inspiring women in the sector on these pages.

Sharpe by Name...

Carolyn Sharpe

Carolyn Sharpe "wanted it all" when she took on her business to get a better balance with her young family. She got it: meet the 2015 bfa HSBC Female Franchisee of the Year

Care in the Community

Ruth Solomons

Award-winning Ruth Solomons reflects on a year with Right at Home, being her own boss and creating something from nothing thanks to a reputation for quality

Numbers Game for Clare

Clare Davies

Former accountant Clare traded in her number-crunching for a Water Babies franchise - and has watched her customer count climb higher ever since day one

Nicola's A Cut Above

Nicola Keith-Jopp opens second Rush salon
Rush franchisee Nicola Keith-Jopp has just launched her second salon in Dorking, following storming success in her first site in Reigate since it opened in 2009

Fitness Fanatic

Patricia Bell, Anytime Fitness

Former physio Patricia Bell has balanced her young family with a thriving business based on her passion...and hosting spooky nights in her Winchester health club

Thanks a Million

Krista Flanagan

Frustrated by working for other people, Krista Flanagan used her experience and knowhow to start up her own business. It's just broken £1m turnover in year one

Franchisee turns Fundraiser

Hilary Coates
Hilary Coates, Swindon franchisee for Wagging Tails, enjoyed turning the tables (and water) on her franchisor recently as part of a £2,500 charity day she organised

Swapping Motos for Monkeys

Emma Barnes
Emma Barnes loves the flexibility since she switched from bikers to babies, leaving Harley-Davidson to become a Monkey Music franchisee...she misses the cakes though!

Supportive Selection

Chaya Malhotra
Chaya Malhotra couldn't resist the draw of running her own business and says 'something just clicked' when she found Select Appointments

From Policing to Polishing

From policing to polishing!
With 23 years in the force under her belt, Sandra Reid is taking on a different challenge altogether: starting her own domestic cleaning and homecare business

Rock Solid & On Trend

Hayley Fenn
Hayley Fenn has taken over responsibilities for the nationwide Granite Transformations network, and will manage its impending Trend rebrand alongside future growth

Swimming Success

Wendy Lambie"If you told me six years ago that in 2015 I would be running my own business and that it would be swimming babies I don’t think I would have believed you!”

The Select Effect

Donna Stafford
When she was made redundant, Donna Stafford had no idea her next move would end up with her running Select Appointments franchises with £1m+ turnover

Relocation, Relocation

Vicki Mowat

Vicki Mowat discusses why she chose to relocate her family and buy a franchise business - and how it has transformed her work and home life.

The Wheel Deal

Sarah Kerr

Sarah Kerr was marketing ice cream before she decided to start an alloy wheel refurb business with her husband - which she had 'no clue about'!

Exercising Entrpreneur

Deborah Hayden

Deborah had been a hugely successful entrepreneur already before she launched her Anytime Fitness club in March; no surprise then that she's already winning awards

Half the World Away

Emily Liew

Emily Liew was already a highly successful businesswoman in Malaysia. When she came to start her new life in the UK, she turned to Mail Boxes Etc. to fulfil her ambitions

Music Maestro

Flick Moorhouse, Monkey Music

A perfect sequence of events led Flick and husband Richard, both passionate about music, to take on the Oxford franchise for Monkey Music and a great work/life balance

From Doctor To Water Baby

Kate Evans, Water Babies

Kate knew she wanted a better work/life balance, so when the opportunity arose, she hung up her stethoscope and put on her goggles…

Swimtime Superstar

Swimtime superstar and still only 28 years old
Heather Ratcliffe has 1,000 customers, is a national award-winner, campaigns alongside Sport England, is an avid supporter of her local community...and is just 28 years old

Armed and Ready

Corinne Kingston
After serving in the army, Corinne wanted to fulfil her dream of running a pub. With husband Richard and the support of Marston's, she now runs two! 

Mad About Success

Lee Dancy
Barking Mad founder, Lee Dancy, was recently honoured at being invited to speak at the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs event run by Enterprise Nation

Mel's Long Connection

Mel Mounsdon
Mel Mounsdon has been running her Card Connection franchise for 23 years, counting some of her customers as good friends, and says she's still enjoying it!

Growth by the Book

Rosemary Bookkeeping Coventry
Within three years of launching her bookkeeping business Caroline O'Brien was taking on an apprentice; she's just tripled her turnover in the last 12 months

My Advice? Get a Dog!

Renee Mackay
Renee Mackay, TaxAssist Accountants franchisee in Edinburgh, says a lot of hard work, great service and an office dog have been key to her success

Success on the Cards

Elaine Anderson, Card Connection
Elaine Anderson discusses her experiences of buying an established franchise business and adapting to business ownership after a long public sector career

  • Liz Gabriel
    Puddle Ducks Franchising Ltd - Franchisee case study

    "I’m my own boss with full autonomy and in control of my own destiny. I work when I want to and can fit it around other aspects of my life."

    Read the full case study View franchise details
The bfa website is sponsored by

HSBCNatWestLloyds BankThe Royal Bank of Scotland