Fiona Simpson, a mum of two and the founder and Managing Director of-based business ARTventurers, scooped a major national award this week when she was crowned Woman Franchisor of the Year 2018.

Fiona founded ARTventurers in 2011, running art and creative play classes for babies, toddlers and children. The business initially started in Sunderland and with the help of Transmit Start-Ups expanded nationally over the past three years. There are now nearly 30 franchise branches of ARTventurers across the UK and hundreds of children and their parents attend ARTventurers classes each week to have lots of creative, arty fun together. 

On Tuesday 15th May 2018, Fiona was named as Woman Franchisor of the Year in the EWIF (Encouraging Women into Franchising) Awards 2018 at an awards ceremony at Natwest Headquarters in London.

Every year EWIF holds an annual award ceremony designed to bring together the best women in the industry to celebrate their successes. EWIF’s 2018 Awards brought together over 150 franchise professionals to celebrate women in franchising. As it was their 10th anniversary year this was a celebration not to be missed by the UK franchise industry – a true celebration of women and their place in the world of business.

“It’s been an absolutely amazing 12 months for ARTventurers” said Fiona, whose Head Office is at St Peters Gate Business Centre in Sunderland  “Not only have we grown our franchise network in size and developed new programmes for our franchisees to take advantage of to develop further income streams, we’ve also won some major awards including two top awards in the What’s on 4 Kids Awards 2017 and then winning Overall Top Franchise 2017 and Most Supportive Franchise in the Working Mums Top Franchise Awards! And now this award really is the icing on the cake – I am really passionate about helping women just like me to launch and grow successful businesses around family life and being crowned Woman Franchisor of the Year is an amazing achievement and makes me so proud on behalf of all of the ARTventurers Team!”

Before founding ARTventurers, Fiona was a solicitor for over ten years and it was the birth of her two children that prompted her to leave the legal profession and start working for herself.

“I’m very fortunate that throughout my business journey I’ve had so much help and support from a number of different agencies and groups – self employment can be a difficult and lonely journey and a real rollercoaster so to have a support network around you is vital,” said Fiona. “I have had brilliant help and support from an organisation called Transmit Start-Ups who are also North-East based. Not only have they helped me with funding to expand the business at a crucial stage, they’ve also been able to link me up with other professionals such as a marketing coach which has been invaluable when we started to really establish ARTventurers as a national brand. They’ve also provided funding for some of my franchisees to allow them to begin their own start-up journeys.”

To find out more about the award-winning ARTventurers classes for babies, toddlers and children across the UK you can visit the ARTventurers website at

You can find out more about ARTventurers franchise opportunities at