• May 10, 2016
  • Mehrnaz Karimi
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Karren Brady confirmed for bfa Annual Conference

One of the UK’s best-known and most inspirational entrepreneurs has been named as the keynote speaker for the British Franchise Association’s 2016 Annual Conference.

thumbnail_Karren Brady Trailblazer, peer, mentor and government small business ambassador Karren Brady CBE will highlight the two-day event when she takes the stage on Friday 24 June at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham.

Karren was named managing director of Birmingham City football club aged 23, four years later becoming the youngest MD of a UK plc when she oversaw it float on the stock market.

Having overcome neurosurgery following a brain aneurysm in 2006, she left in 2009 when the club was sold for over £81m, taking up the position of vice-chair of West Ham United the following year. She led the club’s high-profile and successful bid to move to the Olympic Stadium from next season.

Karren has served on several boards including those of Mothercare, Arcadia, Syco, Channel 4 and the Women in Sport Advisory Board, as well as keeping a watchful eye on Apprentice candidates for Lord Sugar.

Appointed a small business ambassador in 2013, the same year she was awarded her CBE for services to women in business and entrepreneurship, Karren became Baroness Karren Brady of Knightsbridge after being elevated to the House of Lords. She has written four books and is a passionate supporter of numerous charities and causes.

Pip Wilkins, the bfa chief executive, commented: “It was important we continued the outstanding record of attracting big-name speakers and in Karren we have one of the biggest business personalities there is. After many years of encouraging and inspiring others to follow a similar entrepreneurial path, there’s a lot of Karren’s story that’s ideally suited to franchising and we’re thrilled she’ll be joining us at what promises to be the best annual conference yet held by the bfa.

thumbnail_Marc Priestley“We welcomed 240 people from more than 100 businesses last year and this year’s conference will set new standards again. It’s an unmissable event for any franchisor, established or growing, who is looking to strengthen their business and share experiences with their peers.”

Further high-profile speakers and presenters, from within and outside franchising, will be announced for the conference shortly. Details are availble at and latest developments can be followed on Twitter via the hashtag #bfaconf16. This year’s event is supported by The Franchising Centre, Coconut Creatives, d&t and What Franchise.

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