Top Franchises Announced At The Ulster Bank Irish Franchise Association Awards 2012

On Friday, April 27th at the RDS, Dublin the winners of the Irish Franchise Awards 2012 were announced. The Irish Franchise Awards Sponsored by Ulster Bank recognise excellence in franchising and rewards the outstanding achievements of businesses and individuals in the franchise industry. The judging panel for the 2012 Ulster Bank Irish Franchise Association Awards included Irish Dragon and Newstalk Presenter Bobby Kerr; Orna Stokes, Senior Manager SME & Franchising Ulster Bank; Orla Nugent, Director Executive MBA, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School; Greg Swift of Dublin County Enterprise Board and Cian O Mongain from the Sunday Business Post.

The award categories represented both retail and service industries:

Outstanding Contribution to Franchising in Ireland – McDonald's Franchise of the Year (Retail) – Boston Brand Bars Franchise of the Year (Service) – Fastway Couriers Franchising Woman of the Year – Caroline Wallace from The Zipyard Best Newcomer into Ireland from Overseas – CEX Best Irish Newcomer – Funky Monkeys Best Emerging Franchise (Retail) – Hillbilly’s Fried Chicken Best Emerging Franchise (Service) – awarded to FitKids The Most Innovative Marketing Award – Cartridge Green Best Franchise System and Business Practice – Fastway Couriers Outstanding Growth Award – Motivation Weight Management Clinics Best Indigenous Irish Franchise – The Zipyard Franchisee of the Year (Retail) – Snap Sandyford Franchisee of the Year (Service) – Motivation Weight Management Clinics (Tralee, Ennis, Killarney).

Silver Medallists across certain categories included Motivation Weight Management Clinics who scooped two silver medals for Franchise of the Year Service and Best Indigenous Irish Franchise. Car Medic won two silver medals for Best Emerging Franchise and Most Innovative Marketing. Silver Medals were also awarded to Hillbilly’s Fried Chicken, Snap Printing, The Zipyard, Boston Bar Brands and Chem-Dry Ireland.

David Killeen, Chairman of the Irish Franchise Association said: “The awards are an opportunity for us to formally recognise and celebrate the excellent work being done by all franchise operators in growing the sector, consolidating existing businesses and protecting sustainable jobs despite the difficult trading conditions we currently face. On behalf of the Association I would like to congratulate all entrants, not only the finalists and winners. Through the collective effort of all involved, we continue to drive improvements in standards and the understanding of best practice and ethical franchising in Ireland. I sincerely thank Ulster Bank for their continued association with this event and their on-going support and commitment to our sector.”

Orna Stokes, Senior Manager, SME & Franchising, Ulster Bank said, "Ulster Bank has a long standing commitment to the franchise sector in Ireland and we are proud to sponsor the Irish Franchise Awards and Expo. Congratulations to all the winners - these companies are wonderful examples of what can be achieved using enterprise, innovation and hard work. We would also like to recognise the great work done by the Irish Franchise Association in encouraging and supporting the growth of franchising across Ireland."

The awards were presented at the RDS on Friday April 27th 2012. The ceremony was an impressive business event reflecting the strength of the franchise sector in these challenging times.