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last updated 15/09/2019


Suffrage 125 - Celebrating women in franchising

last updated 15/09/2019


19 September 2018 – As New Zealand celebrates Suffrage 125, we take a look at the success of women in franchising

HallFamily2016Winners

Women have always been strongly involved in small business in New Zealand, and franchising both reflects that and helps more women into self-employment and business ownership. The 2010 Franchising New Zealand survey found that almost half of all franchise units are owned together with a spouse or partner, rather than by a male sole owner (29%) or a female sole owner (13%). Sadly, the 2017 survey didn’t ask this same question but a 2016 survey by MYOB found that women make up 44 percent of small-to-medium business (SME) owners, up from 30 percent in 2012.

But it’s not just about ownership – women can also claim to have out-performed the men in franchising. In the very first year of the Franchise Awards, back in 1995, one of the two top franchisees was Robyn Hulena of Wendy’s Supa Sundaes in Riccarton.  The following year, solo mum Tracey Houston of Lollipop’s took out the top franchisee title, then a series of husband-and-wife teams won up till 2002, when the winner was again a lone woman – Wellington’s Angela Ferguson of Mortgage Choice.

In fact, it’s not until the 11th year of the Awards, in 2005, that a solo man – Shiraz Hajee – was named New Zealand’s top franchisee, and it’s a feat that has been achieved only three times since. Karleen Hennessey restored women’s place at the top in 2006 and although Ivy & William Joe’s names are both on their record-breaking run of Supreme Awards from 2012-2014, it was Ivy who ran the business.

As the table below shows, women have been named as New Zealand’s top franchisees at the Awards in 19 out of 23 years so far. In 2016, a whole family won the title, with women in the majority there, too. On balance, it seems that a higher percentage of franchising’s top performers are women than men – and a couple can make the strongest team of all.

Realistic expectations

There was one finding in the MYOB survey that made fascinating reading – the comment that, ‘It has become apparent over the five years of the survey that the projections we get from women, both in terms of revenue growth and the overall economy, have tracked more closely to the actual results we can expect to see.’ If that’s true, it suggests that women are more realistic about business potential – always a significant factor in establishing the trust between a franchisor and franchisee that leads to better outcomes for all.

On board

And perhaps there’s another reason for the success of women in franchising. Right from the early days of the Franchise Association and its predecessors, there have been women on its board, many of them highly-successful franchisors in their own right. Estelle Logan of V.I.P. was the first woman elected as Chairman, and the current Vice Chairman is also female. While other countries' Associations have found it necessary to reserve a special seat on the board for a woman, that’s never been the case here – and it’s certainly never been necessary to set up a separate sub-section for ‘Women and minorities’, as was once the case in the USA’s International Franchise Association.

So today, let’s celebrate the 19th century campaigners who helped New Zealand lead the way, and celebrate all those women who have taken the opportunities they created to succeed in so many fields – including business. Cheers!

Awards winners

Here’s the list of all the top Franchisee Award winners to date. This year’s winners will be named on 10th November.

Year

Winner

Title

1995

Robyn Hulena
Wendy’s Supa Sundaes, Riccarton

Retail Franchisee of the Year

Bruce Grant/Judith Friar
Fastway Couriers, Northland

Service Franchisee of the Year

1996

Tracey Houston, 
Lollipop’s Playland, Hastings

Franchisee of the Year

1997

Alistair & Debbie Boyd
Brumby’s, Christchurch

Franchisee of the Year

1998

Bryan & Rosemary Gore
Meticulous Maids, Remuera

Franchisee of the Year

1999

Steve & Cathy Wilson
Brumby’s, Christchurch

Franchisee of the Year

2000

Brent & Jo Williamson
Robert Harris Café, Timaru

Franchisee of the Year

2001

Phil & Gill West
Bakers Delight, Howick

Franchisee of the Year

2002

Angela Ferguson
Mortgage Choice, Wellington

Franchisee of the Year

2003

Sharon Heincen & Alan Phillip
Bakers Delight, Onehunga & Milford

Franchisee of the Year

2004 

Tina & Gerard Kennedy
Brumby’s, Rotorua

Franchisee of the Year

2005

Shiraz Hajee
Jesters, Auckland

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2006

Karleen Hennessey 
PORSE, Waikato

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2007

Alan & Michelle Cook
Anchor, Te Puke

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2008

David Compton, 
Quest, Newmarket

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2009

Bill Sampson
Fastway Couriers, Tauranga

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2010

Nick & Clare Thomas
Civic Video, Glenfield

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2011

Nigel & Carmeena Heney
Columbus Coffee, Ashburton

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2012

Ivy & William Joe
The Coffee Club, Bethlehem

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2013

Ivy & William Joe
The Coffee Club, Bethlehem

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2014

Ivy & William Joe
The Coffee Club, Bethlehem

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2015

The Hall Family
Columbus Coffee, Kapiti and Porirua

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2016

Michael Ash
Mister Minit, St Lukes

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

2017

Judi & Earl McWhirter
Just Cabins Waipa, Otorohanga & King Country

Supreme Award 
Franchisee of the Year

 

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