A diverse range of businesses will compete for the biggest accolades in UK franchising after the British Franchise Association (bfa) revealed the shortlist for the bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Awards 2016.

Agency Express win in 2015The 17 finalists hail from multiple business sectors, from swim schools to logistics and health care to home improvement. Featuring up-and-comers alongside some of the biggest brands in the sector, franchisors were required to evidence their company culture, franchisee support, innovative practices and commitment to franchising ethics to reach this stage.

The 2016 finalists are:

bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year 2016

  • Driver Hire Nationwide
  • Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA)
  • Home Instead Senior Care
  • McDonald’s Restaurants
  • Minster Cleaning Services
  • Rainbow International
  • Water Babies

Emerging Franchisor of the Year (five years or less in franchising)

  • busylizzy
  • Diamond Logistics
  • Heritage Healthcare

Franchisee Recruitment Award

  • Home Instead Senior Care
  • Premier Sport
  • TaxAssist Accountants

Award for Innovation

  • McDonald’s Restaurants
  • Swimtime
  • X-Press Legal Services

Customer Focus Award

  • Dream Doors
  • Dyno-Rod
  • O2

Finalists will present to a judging panel of industry experts on 12 & 13 April, with winners announced at a black-tie dinner on 23 June in Nottingham. Guest judges this year are Nicola Broadhurst from Stevens & Bolton, Euan Fraser of AMO Consulting and Stuart Walsh from Franchise Finance.

Andy Brattesani, UK head of franchising for HSBC, said of the shortlisting process: “Such a day naturally challenges concentration levels, reading entries all day is hard work (don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me). But the quality of the applications and the enthusiasm that came out of the written words ensured I was captivated throughout. I can’t wait to hear more at the judging from some great businesses.”

Pip Wilkins, who becomes the bfa’s chief executive in April, added: “This was a very difficult process thanks to the number and calibre of entries. It’s particularly pleasing to see the variety of businesses expanding through franchising represented, reflecting the range of operators in UK franchising. Our finalists should be very proud to have been recognised for their exceptional performance.”

The bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Awards were established in 1989 and have a rich history of showcasing current and future success stories; previous winners include Autosmart, Domino’s and Toni & Guy. Property board services business Agency Express took the top honour last year.