Wilkins Chimney Sweep has been named the winner in the Microbusiness category at the 2016 bfa HSBC Franchisee of The Year Awards.
A chimney sweep who overcame his fear of heights is the Microbusiness winner at the 2016 bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year awards.
Tyneside businessman Richard Bryan of Wilkins Chimney Sweep has been named winner of the Microbusiness category at the prestigious 2016 bfa HSBC Franchisee of The Year Awards, held at Town Hall Birmingham on the 29th September.
Richard Bryan joined the franchise three years ago, following a 30-year career in social housing. In that time, he’s grown his customer base to over 1,500, swept more than 2,000 chimneys and fitted over 150 bird guards.
Moving out of his comfort zone was key, but fitting birdguards proved to be his biggest challenge – as he had a real fear of heights.
"I am shocked and delighted to win this award; as well as the hard work to build up a client base, it’s taken a lot of patience to overcome my fears, but it’s definitely been worth it."
Pip Wilkins, bfa chief executive, said:
"Richard’s gone from having no prior business experience to a multi-award-winner in just over three years, testament to his personality and approach as well as the Wilkins Chimney Sweep model. He’s an inspiration to anyone who has ever dreamed of running their own business, and an exceptional franchisee."
Andrew Brattesani, UK head of franchising at HSBC, commented:
"It takes a great deal of courage to leave a long public sector career to start a business. With this franchise, it takes even more to conquer a fear of heights to do so! Richard’s impressive transition into self-employment is deservedly recognised with this award."
The business has around 110,000 residential houses, plus commercial premises and flats, which Richard serves from his home in Whitley Bay.
The British Franchise Association (bfa) recognises the UK’s most exceptional operators in a range of categories, for their business growth and development, service excellence and ethical franchising practice.
The awards are the oldest and most prestigious in the franchise sector, running for nearly 30 years, and recognise franchising at its best across the UK’s £15bn franchise sector.
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