Franchising industry leaders met with 30 UK MPs at the Houses of Parliament last Monday to discuss the economic impact of franchising through sustainable business growth, new business start-up and job creation.

The meeting, which was held on the 31 October, was organised by the British Franchise Association (bfa) with the support of Caroline Dinenage MP to bring MPs and franchising experts together. Brian Smart, Director General of the bfa, said: “Franchising has developed into an important industry encompassing small operations run from home, through to large retail outlets, professional services and even international hotel chains. Its stability and success rate mean that it can provide an ideal route for many to start their own business and take control of their future.

“We have been delighted by the positive response from MPs at today’s exchange. There is a real hunger by our MPs to capitalise on what is a sustainable, proven and low risk option for many. Our goal now is to work with our MPs to help open up information and advice to many more people that may at the moment be struggling to know where to turn.”

Caroline Dinenage, the MP supporting the reception, added: “I am delighted that this event was able to highlight the economic importance of franchising to so many MPs. With significantly better success rates than other businesses, the franchise industry is key to promoting job creation, economic growth and an entrepreneurial culture. MPs will now be in a position to encourage this fantastic business model in their own constituencies.”

The recent NatWest bfa Franchise Survey showed that better than 90 per cent of franchise owners report their businesses to be profitable and the rate of commercial failure is currently running at less than 4 per cent per year; between six and 10 times better than conventional business start-ups.

There are 897 different brands franchising in the UK today, which support 36,900 individual franchise owners – a growth of 6.5 per cent and 6 per cent respectively on last year. This creates employment for over 520,000 people and generates £12.4 billion income for the UK each year.

With recent public sector job cuts, there will be a number of new people wondering what their next step will be. In some cases franchising can provide their best route; either providing a business start-up platform with lower risk, or providing the opportunity for someone to own their own business that wouldn’t ordinarily have considered being their own boss.

Smart continued: “The success rates are no surprise. Franchising operates through a locally owned and run proven business concept, driven by enterprising individuals, with training, branding, economies of scale and support from the wider network. This removes or reduces many of the hurdles that floor most SMEs.”

“Franchising is not for everyone, which is why most of our work is in educating those investigating franchising, either as individuals, or as businesses looking to adopt it as a growth model. It is important that people take the right advice and carry out their own due diligence, because when they do we see some outstanding success stories and ones that inspire many others.”

The bfa is now looking to establish an environment with MPs from across the UK to build a regular two-way exchange of ideas, education, advice and support.

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