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Escape Live on the up after Birmingham Post Business Awards win

New franchises and a possible nationwide launch are on the cards for Jewellery Quarter escape experience firm founded just 16 months ago following win at BPBA 2015

Business Start Up & Entrepreneur award winner - Escape Live
Escape Live collects the Business Start Up Award at the 2015 Birmingham Post Business Awards

Expansion, recruitment and new franchises...it has been a busy six months for one winner at last year's Birmingham Post Business Awards.

Escape Live, which was founded in the Jewellery Quarter last year, was crowned Business Start-Up 2015 at the ceremony last November, 11 months after the company was formed.

The business offers two escape experiences for thrill seekers from its home in Henrietta Street - detective-themed Dr Wilson's Office and horror-based Room 13 - and is in the final stages of adding two more which are due to open in July.

Since the award, it has opened up a second venue in Essex which is going well, according to co-founder John Dalziel who says the firm is close to finalising a deal for a new site in Coventry.

Enter the 2016 Birmingham Post Business Awards here

Mr Dalziel, who is also a presenter on Free Radio in the city, said: "We also have plans to open two more possible venues, one of which will be in the Midlands, and we're investing between £45,000 and £55,000 in the extension in Henrietta Street.

"Coventry will be our own but we believe franchising is the future of the company as we've developed a model which seems to be working very well.

"It suits the business because of my radio work and my business partner can be away quite a bit."

Birmingham Post Business Awards 2015 @ the ICC, Birmingham

He said the experience of winning a Business Post Business Award had been an incredibly positive one for staff, not just the ceremony itself but the period afterwards and its impact on the business.

He added: "Our staff loved it and are proud to be part of an award-winning business. We have the award on our desks and they enjoyed the actual award ceremony and night out.

"It has been great for awareness of Escape Live, particularly among corporate customers who were enquiring about us on the night and also as a result of the seeing the coverage in the Birmingham Post ."

Guests enjoy the 2015 Birmingham Post Business Awards at the ICC
Guests enjoy the 2015 Birmingham Post Business Awards at the ICC

Mr Dalziel launched Escape Live with business partner Jas Sodhi in January 2015 and, looking ahead, he said their ambition was to roll out the company's experiences nationwide.

"Our long-term aim is to have a network of sites across the UK and we have even had enquiries about running Escape Live abroad since the awards," he added.

"With a franchise model, it could go anywhere if you get it right. We are well above where we thought we would be since the awards.

"We've had about 25,000 escapees through the doors which is just unreal as we never could have imagined that figure when we launched the business."

Escape Live celebrates winning the 2015 Business Start Up award
Escape Live celebrates winning the 2015 Business Start Up award

The Birmingham Post Business Awards 2016 will be held at the ICC on October 26 and hosted by comedian and TV personality Dominic Holland and ITV weather presenter Emma Jesson.

The 2016 categories are below and full details of criteria and how to enter can be found online here.

Headline sponsors for this year's awards so far are wealth management and employee benefits company Mattioli Woods which is backing the Excellence in Manufacturing Award.

Turkish Airlines is sponsoring the Contribution to Community Award and leading brand agency Champions is working with the Post to organise the awards ceremony.

* For information about sponsorship opportunities, call Michelle Gardiner on 08453 31 30 31 or 07791 122 627, or e-mail mgardiner@championsukplc.com

Award categories for 2016 Birmingham Post Business Awards

- Company of the Year

- Small Business of the Year

- New Business of the Year

- Business Entrepreneur of the Year

- Legal Services Award

- Financial Services Award

- Sales & Marketing Award

- Excellence in Science & Technology Award

- Retail Business of the Year

- Creative Communications & Digital Business of the Year

- Excellence in Manufacturing

- Export Award

- Contribution to the Community

- Not-For-Profit Organisation Award

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