FASA Winners – Past, present and future – reflect our changing world
In 1990, with the South African Franchise Association (SAFA) already eleven years old and with a membership of 84 franchise companies, the idea of holding franchise awards was introduced. This was the start of what has been one of the highlights of the Association’s calendar for the past 28 years. Tracking the various winners over the years is like scrolling through the country’s economic history – showing the peaks of success and the spikes of new ventures entering the market.
Here are some of the highlights from the FASA Awards over the years
THE FIRST AWARDS IN THE 1990’S
The first awards were held at a glittering ceremony at the Sandton Sun in 1990, attended by 235 guests. Contrasted with the relatively low number of members at only 84, the event drew great interest and the organisers went all out to make a big first splash – commissioning artist Jean-Pierre Mouray to create floating metal sculptures as trophies. The winners of the two top awards were KFC (then known as Kentucky Fried Chicken) as Franchisor of the Year and Wimpy Harrismith taking the Franchisee of the Year Award. Building on the first successful Awards event, the judging criteria was refined and impartial business and celebrity judges were invited to sit on the judging panel. In those early years that included radio personality and MD of Radio 702, Stan Katz, Maria Maponya, prominent businesswoman, Jerry Schuitema, economics consultant and television personality and Sonny Tarr, GM of the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) which would later become Business Partners. For entertainment who else to use but the formidable duo of Des and Dawn Lindberg who, in their inimitable style, composed special songs that celebrated the individual achievements of the winners – and had the audience in stitches.
The 1990’s saw SAFA change its name to FASA, a salaried Executive Director appointed and official offices set up for the Association. The Franchise Expo and seminars were added to the promotional mix and the awards continued to be the pinnacle of achievement for those brands that entered.
Winners in the decade reflected the growth in both fast food concepts and in other sectors. In the food space Mike’s Kitchen, Juicy Lucy and BJ’s were riding the wave of popularity, winning Franchisor of the Year, whilst home grown Nando’s also saw extended growth and success. Whilst KFC were already well-established, the sector welcomed McDonald’s as another international player. In the services sector Pest Control Services and Mend-a-Bath rose in popularity as did print shops like Prontaprint, Minit Print and Jetline and one of the first education franchises, Academy of Learning won Franchisor of the Year in 1992 and Franchisee of the Year in 1994.
THE Y2K THREAT HERALDS IN THE SUCCESS STORIES OF THE 2000’S
The much feared Y2K computer scare which threatened to turn the world upside down ended up being little more than a storm in a teacup and FASA, under the Chairmanship of Ian Lourens who had recently brought in the highly successful PostNet franchise to South Africa, went from strength to strength.
Taking a look at some of the winners of the Awards in this decade showed that franchising indeed throws that pebble in the pond of innovation and entrepreneurship which then spreads to all corners of the country. In 2004/5 the top awards of Franchisor of the Year went to Vodacom, and Vodashop respectively, mirroring the explosion in cell phone technology. Newcomers during the decade included NWJ Jewellers and Sasol in the petroleum and retail space, Placecol in the beauty category and in the food sector brands such as Debonairs, Scooters and Romans Pizza fought it out to made their mark. In the Franchisor: Leading Developer of Emerging Entrepreneurs brands such as Butterfield, Hot Dog Cafe and King Pie were making significant inroads in growing black franchisees within their system.
FIFA SOCCER WORLD CUP KICKS OFF THE NEXT DECADE
Despite the economic downturn that started in 2008, South Africa was on a high in 2010 hosting the Soccer World Cup and the awards that year reflected positive economic expectations. In addition to honouring the five traditional categories two more were introduced – that of most promising Female Franchisee of the Year and that of most promising Black Franchisee of the Year – reflecting franchising’s efforts to transform the sector and give business opportunities through some innovative funding initiatives in place from both financial institutions and government funding agencies.
Entrants into the awards in the early part of the decade reflected the move in new services with up-and-coming brands such as Fastway Couriers and The Courier Guy entering and newcomers like Spec Savers and Silverline winning awards. Retailing came into its own with entrants such as Cash Converters, Pick n Pay and OBC Chicken & Meat competing and new trends in health and fitness saw brands such as Bodytec, Body20 and Kauai forge ahead successfully. Winners such as Car Service City showed the rise in service franchises and the introduction of a Job Creator of the Year award put the focus on the sector and its contribution to job creation.
As FASA prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2019, the FASA Awards for Excellence in Franchising will mark the end of another decade of success and growth in franchising and the start of even bigger growth in franchising in South Africa. Members are encouraged to enter the awards and be part of history-making – visit www.fasa.co.za for more info and the entry documents.