Gymshark founder Ben Francis, who started a billion-pound sportswear empire in his parents’ garage in Birmingham 11 years ago, has been awarded an MBE by the Prince of Wales.
The 30-year-old dropped out of Aston University in 2012 to focus on his business full-time while keeping his job as a Pizza Hut delivery driver to help pay the bills.
Today he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire at Windsor Castle for services to business.
Supported by his wife and family, Mr Francis beamed as he accepted the honor from Prince William at Wednesday’s investiture ceremony after being inducted into the King’s New Year’s Honors List.
Following the announcement earlier this year, Mr Francis said he “can’t believe it”.
Gymshark Founder and CEO Ben Francis pictured receiving his MBE from Prince William at an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle
The 30-year-old was presented with the honor by Prince William at Windsor Castle today
He wrote on LinkedIn, “I can’t believe it, but I’ve been given the honor of an MBE.”
“It’s probably the most surreal feeling I’ve ever had receiving an award.” “I’m so grateful to everyone around me who supports me in everything I do at Gymshark.”
A Forbes billionaires list published in April put the father-of-two’s net worth at US$1.2 billion (£992million), making him Britain’s youngest billionaire.
Headquartered in Solihull, West Midlands, Gymshark is worn by some of the world’s biggest celebrities and influencers, from Rita Ora to Nicole Scherzinger.
The brand, which is now sold in 230 countries, has had its fair share of struggles over time, including being accused of “virtue signaling” in 2020 after showing pictures of a model showing her love handles.
“Fat-phobic” followers claimed Brighton influencer Nelly London had “nothing to do with promoting the brand’s gym wear” and claimed she was boycotting the “warriors of the watch” across the range.
However, the entrepreneur has found more and more success in his life and has lived a life of luxury as a self-made billionaire.
Francis, who won the EY UK Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2020, married Robin Gallant from Canada in September 2021.
The couple gave birth to twin sons on December 24 last year after publicly announcing that Robin was pregnant three months earlier.
They first met after Francis asked her to promote his brand on her social media. She has since moved to the UK from her home in Canada to live with him.
This year’s MBE winners include Chris Kamara, one of football’s most beloved personalities.
Francis, now 30, pictured in Gymshark gym gear with his model wife Robin Callant. On December 24 last year, the couple welcomed twin sons into their lives
The Gymshark founder will receive an honorary doctorate in business administration from Aston University in May
At what appears to be a business meeting, Ben trades the Gymshark attire for a suit
Kamara was made a member of the British Empire by Prince William at the investiture ceremony on Tuesday, with the couple telling a joke during their exchange.
The 65-year-old played for nine English professional clubs in his 20-year career before coaching Bradford and Stoke. In recent years, however, he has become best known for his work as a pundit and presenter at Sky Sports.
Lionesses stars Beth Mead and Lucy Bronze also received their MBEs for their services to football after being involved in England’s triumph at Euro 2022.
In the picture, the couple received their royal honors from Prince William.
It caps a string of accolades for Arsenal star Mead, who won the Golden Boot at Euro 2022 and won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in December.
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