MYOB FCA Excellence in Franchising Award Winners Honoured in Canberra


The Franchise Council of Australia honoured franchising’s best and brightest at the MYOB FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards Gala Dinner on Tuesday night at the National Franchise Convention Centre, Canberra.

The winner of the prestigious Australian Established Franchise of the Year Award was Poolwerx, with CEO and Founder John O’Brien accepting the award with a heartfelt speech.

Founded 24 years ago, the business has evolved from a man-in-a-van operation into a model that supports big businesses with over 106 partners operating close to 100 stores and 300+ vans.

“I remember when I was nine years old and I knew in my heart that I wanted to succeed. I wasn’t sure what it was that I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted success.” Mr O’Brien said.

As innovation was the theme of the National Franchise Convention, which the awards were a part of, Mr O’Brien had some key messages for what it takes to be ahead of the crowd.

“Having a culture of innovation is not enough, you also need a structure and strategy for innovation, having rewards for innovation, having people and the environment in which it’s pretty cool to make mistakes and to push the boundaries. Sometimes mistakes are good.

“If you don’t take your franchisees, or their staff or your staff along for the ride, the innovation dies on the vine. So you must really have an inclusive process on bringing people into innovation, so that they feel a part of it. Communicate it well and train them well,” he said.

It seems like their strategy is on track, as Poolwerx continues to pave their way into international waters, with a recent expansion into the USA 18 months ago in five states.

Jump! Swim Schools was named Australian Emerging Franchise of the Year. The inspiration behind Jump! Swim Schools business was simple. Ian Campbell, CEO and Founder is a father to three young sons and has a long history with swim schools. Ian opened his first purpose-built swim school in 2011 after identifying the difficulty in teaching young beginners in big busy aquatic centres.

Franchising the business was an obvious step in business success for Mr Campbell.

“By franchising our business, we get increased brand recognition across the market, are able to reach more consumers and help them appreciate what kids are capable of in our swim schools,” he said.

Pandora Jewelry took home the award for the International Franchisor of the Year. Luce Gill, National Franchise and Commercial Manager said that feedback was the secret to adapting international learnings to the Australian shore.

“We really seek to get the franchisees feedback on any ideas that we have. Just because there is a global promotion, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work in the Australian marketplace in the original format and Pandora from all the way to the top is very receptive to ideas –from the clientele, to the CEO, up to the offices in Hong Kong and Denmark… we really listen to our franchisees and involve them in every step of the process,” Ms Gill said.

Winners of the night also included Specsavers, who took out the Excellence in Marketing Award and Retail Zoo, who was awarded the Franchise Innovation Award for Boost Juice Bars.

A total of 14 Excellence in Franchising Awards were presented on the evening, which was proudly sponsored by MYOB. Outstanding individuals and businesses were recognised across a range of functions including franchisees, suppliers, support staff and franchise systems.


Australian Established Franchisor of the YearPoolwerx

Australian Emerging Franchisor of the YearJump! Swim Schools

International Franchisor of the YearPandora Jewelry

Multi-Unit Franchisee of the YearBoost Juice, Chatswood, Bankstown, Eastgardens and Top Ryde, NSW

Single Unit Franchisee of the Year, two or more staffChris and Robyn Mitchell, Pizza Capers, Gungahlin, ACT

Single Unit Franchisee of the Year, less than two staffShaun Birley and Sam Orders, InXpress, Sydney CBD

Franchise Woman of the YearNatalie Brennan, Foodco, NSW

Field Manager of the YearStephen Hall, Poolwerx

Supplier of the YearFranchise Relationships Institute

Excellence in MarketingSpecsavers

Excellence in International FranchisingG.J Gardner Homes

Franchisor Social ResponsibilityBridgestone Australia

Franchisor Community Responsibility and ContributionBaker’s Delight, Kawana & Maroochydore, QLD

Franchise Hall of Fame Inductee 2016Murray d’Almeida

NextGen winnerDavid Lindsay, Salts of the Earth