Ms Francis, who has worked in the movement for 35 years, has been given an MBE for “services to enterprise and the communities of Leicester and Leicestershire”.
During her career she has helped over 200 enterprises to start, develop and realise their potential – some of which have traded for more than 30 years and have won awards in their field.
CASE is itself s a worker co-operative, specialising in delivering advice, training and business growth for co-ops and social enterprises, mainly in Leicestershire and the East Midlands.
The MBE caps a busy and successful year for Ms Francis, who in April was given Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, an an equivalent to an OBE, is given to one person each year and Dorothy is the twelfth recipient.
She also became a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), most senior level of membership, awarded by invitation only. It came in recognition of her contribution to the field of management and leadership within the co-operative and social enterprise sector and the role that she will play within the CMI to help shape the future of the management profession.
She said: “I love my work and consider it to be not just a job but a vocation. I am as passionate about co-operatives and social businesses now as I was when my career began and I am delighted to receive recognition.
“However I have not achieved this in isolation and I would like to thank the inspiring people at CASE, past and present, who I have worked alongside to promote the principles and practices of social business over the years.
“I would also like to thank the exciting, dedicated, hardworking and determined co-operative and social entrepreneurs who access CASE to explore and execute their dreams of running community focused businesses.
“I consider myself lucky to work with people who seek to change society and it’s a pleasure to work with so many committed social entrepreneurs. “
Co-ops helped by Ms Francis include Just Services, which provides support and advocate services for people with disabilities. Manager Keira Cornish said: “I would like to congratulate Dorothy on behalf of Just Services Ltd on being awarded an MBE.
“Dorothy worked with the founders of Just Services to establish and registered the business 14 years ago and we cannot thank her enough for her continued support which has helped us to develop and grow our services for people with disabilities.”
Yasin El Ashrafi, managing director of HQ Recording Studios in Leicester, added: “Dorothy has been instrumental in the success of HQ.
“She has advised us for more than six years and is always our first port of call when we need impartial, professional business advice.
“Dorothy helped HQ secure a grant that enabled us to open our studio and with her help we have gone from strength to strength.”