Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Kwik Kopy disruptor Stephen Penfold - Image Magazine


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Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Kwik Kopy disruptor Stephen Penfold
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Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Kwik Kopy disruptor Stephen Penfold

Stephen Penfold, Executive Chairman at Kwik Kopy Australia was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 National Print Awards, recognising his invaluable contribution to the print industry over a period of 65 years; and his launch of Kwik Kopy in Australia.

Penfold has been a key disruptor in the print industry's evolution in Australia, bringing the Kwik Kopy franchise to Australia from the USA in 1982 to leverage ‘instant printing’ and more recently branching out into digital, design, wide-format and signage at Kwik Kopy.

With a history dating back to the 1800s, the Penfold family has been a fixture in the printing industry for five generations. Stephen joined the family firm of WC Penfold & Co in 1956, following an 18-month cadetship at Sydney printer S.T. Leigh & Co at just 17 years old. 

He went on to become a major part of the WC Penfold plan to innovate and move with emerging trends within the print industry, such as rotogravure flexible packaging and in 1987, instant print. The latter led to his most significant contribution; the launch of  Kwik Kopy in Australia. The launch of instant print in Australia was a major disruption in the industry at the time, paving the way for print’s future. 

Stephen purchased the Australian franchise rights to the US company on behalf of WC Penfold and opened the first store in 1982. The first Kwik Kopy Centre opened in Sydney’s CBD and was run by Stephen’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Mary and Reg Waite. 

When WC Penfold decided to offload its franchise business just a few years later, Stephen seized the opportunity to purchase the business. He left the family business and became the Franchisor for Kwik Kopy Printing in Australia in 1985.

Since that time, Kwik Kopy Australia has emerged as one of the most successful print businesses and franchise groups in the country and has expanded beyond just print to also provide design, wide-format and signage, and other services. 

Continuing his record of innovation in print, Stephen led Kwik Kopy into the digital era strategically transitioning the business from offset printing to xerography, then to desktop publishing and colour copying.

More recently, Kwik Kopy has emerged as one of the fastest growing businesses in the wide-format and signage space and has also built software as a service (SAAS) offering, launching Print Speak in 2013. 

Stephen has contributed significantly to the franchise sector, holding positions as Director and Chairman of the Franchise Council of Australia and as a Board Member for the Federal Government Franchise Review Board. In 2003 he was an inaugural inductee to the Australian Franchise Hall of Fame.

Stephen’s commitment to the Penfold family business has continued with his children. More than 150 years after the original Penfold printing business opened on Pitt St, the Penfold family came full circle with Stephen’s son Matthew Penfold purchasing the Darling Harbour Kwik Kopy franchise in 2016 following a long career at Kwik Kopy Australia including as MD and CEO. Stephen’s children Mark, Annalise and Matthew are shareholders of Kwik Kopy Australia and Annalise has recently joined Stephen and Matthew on the Board of Directors. Four other extended family members are also contributing to the business in operational roles within the company. 

Commenting on the Lifetime Achievement Award, Stephen Penfold said, “It is an honour to be recognised for my life’s work in the industry I love. Print continues to be a dynamic and ever evolving industry with an exciting future ahead. I’m proud that Kwik Kopy is making its mark in print now and will continue to do so in the future.”