Kent businesswoman celebrates double win at bfa HSBC British Franchise Awards

News Posted 07/12/22
Kent businesswoman Jessie Lilley, owner of children’s dance company babyballet, has won the ‘Star Performer’ and ‘People’s Choice’ awards at the recent bfa HSBC British Franchise Awards.

Founded in the UK 17 years ago, and now also available in Australia and New Zealand, babyballet offers dancing classes to children from six months to six years.

Jessie bought her Kent-based franchise in January 2009. She teaches over 1,000 children a week to dance and employs two full-time and 11 freelance teachers.

Described by many as the ‘Oscars’ of the franchising world, the bfa HSBC British Franchise Awards, run by the British Franchise Association and sponsored by HSBC Bank, celebrate the best of the best in franchising, showcasing franchisors and franchisees alike who are committed to ethical franchising.

Entry to the awards was via written submission and an optional video entry. Finalists were then interviewed by a panel of industry expert judges.

The awards ceremony was held at a glittering black-tie event at the Vox hotel in Birmingham, attended by over 400 of the biggest names in the UK franchising industry.

In the ‘Star Performer’ category, judges were looking for franchisees who were regarded as one of the highest performers in their network.

They would likely be well-known and well-connected within the network and be able to demonstrate the impact of having a great relationship with the franchisor. Jessie ticked all the boxes for judges.

On winning both the awards, Jessie said: “I can’t speak! I couldn’t believe I won the first one, let alone a second! I love babyballet. It has been my life for nearly 14 years and I aim to bring it to even more children.

“Developing a SEND programme is a massive passion of mine. I’m really proud of what we have achieved and what we are going to achieve in the future, so that there can be babyballet stars all over the world, regardless of their needs, disability or gender, because every child deserves to dance.”

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchising Association, added: “Huge congratulation to Jessie for winning the ‘Star Performer’ and the ‘People’s Choice’ awards tonight.

“Not only is she making a huge success of running her own franchise business, but she is also making a big difference to the lives of children in and around Dartford, Bexley and Bromley, and we are so glad that her efforts have been recognised here tonight.”

“As the oldest franchise association in the United Kingdom, we work hard to maintain the standards of ethical franchising in this country. Franchising contributes over £17 billion to the country’s GDP and employs over 700,000 people.

“Franchise operations are perfectly built to withstand the rigours of even the harshest financial storms, relying as they do on following tried and tested business models.

“We send congratulations to all our winners and thank them for upholding the standards of the association and being such outstanding examples of the best that franchising has to offer.”

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