Former Teacher To Dragons’ Den Theatre School Franchise Award Winner
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Former Teacher To Dragons’ Den Theatre School Franchise Award Winner

January 23, 2023 // // The Principal, teachers, staff and students from Newbury achieved the top spot to win the Franchisee of the Year Award at the recent Conference for the Dragons’ Den backed theatre school network. 

Razzamataz Newbury has been a theatre school since its launch in 2015 and its Principal Debbi Ledwith has been an important part of the network, selflessly giving her time and knowledge to share with other Principals while growing her school and raising her three children.

“Debbi has been so patient waiting on this award, working away tirelessly, focusing on her teams, her students, producing shows, supporting three young children and living the dream of being able to leave her job to focus on her business,” says Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz Theatre Schools. “I am so proud of her, and it couldn’t have gone to a more deserving Principal.”

The Franchise of the Year category was judged by Suzie McCafferty, QFP and CEO of Platinum Wave. Suzie has more than 25 years of first-hand international franchising experience and is a well-known personality in the franchising world. She is a regular Judge of the bfa HSBC British Franchise Awards and is the longstanding Chairperson of the bfa’s Regional Franchise Forum & EWIF Scotland.

There were many entries, but Suzie was looking for a franchise partner that could demonstrate achievements on many different levels from hitting targets, to being a great leader, to building the Razzamataz brand locally, engaging social media, incredible customer reviews and giving back to the network.

Suzie was impressed with many aspects of Debbi’s entry stating that: “This award recognises true brand ambassadors who have worked hard to build a sustainable business, strong teams and growing student base over the years as well as always making a positive contribution to the overall Razzamataz brand. This franchise owner is a fabulous personality within our network and a worthy winner of this year’s Franchisee of the Year award.“

On winning the award, Debbi says: “Razzamataz has taught me everything I know about running a business. There is huge support from the Head Office and the network but what really works for me is the constant encouragement and rewards that continue to inspire me to push that little bit harder. I love watching everyone go up and collect their awards. When it came to the final award, the big one - Franchisee of the Year - I had no clue at all that I might even be considered. When my name was read out at the end I was in total shock but absolutely delighted! I couldn't believe that, in a room full of such amazing people, I had been chosen. Winning this award means so very much to me as it proves that I am doing things right and that I am a success, and it is such a boost to know that my colleagues - people that I really admire and look up to - recognise and value what I am doing. It really is a team win though and not just about me. I was so excited to share the news with everyone back home.”

Both team members and students have had an incredible year at Razzamataz Newbury. Students were back on stage at the West End in December performing at the Shaftesbury Theatre to a sold-out audience. Debbi and her team also attended the Team Celebration Day at Pineapple Studios in Convent Garden, London. Hosted by Kerry Ellis, staff enjoyed finding out how to further inspire their students and support them to achieve their dreams.

Debbi’s achievements demonstrates the route that many teachers can take, looking to take back control over their careers and lifestyle. Like many parents, Debbi was so busy bringing up her three children and working as a teacher in a secondary school, that she never stopped to think about what it was that she really wanted to do. It was only in 2014 when she separated from her husband, that her friend encouraged her to properly consider her options.  From day one, she fell in love with her business, and now she has been able to transition from being a teacher to being a full-time entrepreneur at Razzamataz.

SOURCE Razzamataz Theatre School


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