The British Franchise Association and National Franchise Week

Through a series of events, the British Franchise Association promotes ethical franchising. Event Manager Pip Wilkins reviews some of the Association's successes this year and previews National Franchise Week

Over 70 British Franchise Association (BFA) member franchisors and around 30 Affiliate Member brands attended the 2005 annual conference held earlier this year. The fully booked event, held at the University of Warwick, was sponsored by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and supported by The Franchise Magazine and Business Franchise Magazine.

A variety of experienced franchisors informed delegates through workshops covering subjects including running multiple franchises, offering re-sales and winning national accounts. The after dinner speaker Pete Goss MBE relayed his experiences competing in the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world yacht race, which earned him an MBE and the respect and admiration of many for his actions. One attendee described him as 'a speaker who will leave an effect on me, and I'm sure most of us, for a very long time to come.'

To increase awareness of franchising throughout the country, the BFA also runs seminars for prospective franchisees and franchisors nationwide. Case studies from franchisees and franchisors and practical advice and presentations from the BFA, bankers, lawyers and experienced franchisors aim to help attendees decide whether franchising is for them.

The most recent BFA event was a one-day workshop for new Association Members. It attracted 10 new Members, who met with senior staff of the Association to discuss how to maximise the benefits of BFA membership. Brian Duckett of Horwath Franchising gave a presentation on the most effective ways to recruit good quality franchisees. Attendees also heard from an experienced franchisor on the problems and pitfalls they may face as a new franchisor and how to avoid them.

Upcoming events includes National Franchise Week (NFW), which is supported by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, HSBC, Express Newspapers and National Franchise Exhibition organiser Venture Marketing Group.

The official launch of National Franchise Week (NFW) will take place at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Training Centre in Milton Keynes. The event enables attendees to share their knowledge of franchising as a safer way to start up a business and includes high profile franchising figures such as BFA President Sir Bernard Ingham and BFA Chairman, and Founder of Cash Generator, Brian Lewis.

Following the launch of NFW, the BFA will be holding an Open Day Luncheon, which targets prospective members of the Association and invites them to find out more about the benefits of BFA membership.

The BFA Franchisee of the Year Awards Gala Dinner, taking place oat the National Motorcycle Museum and sponsored by HSBC and Express Newspapers, will see one of the nine national finalists go home with the title of BFA Franchisee of the Year 2005. The winner and two runners up will share the £10,000 prize money given by HSBC Bank.

This unique week concludes with the National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham. Last year, the exhibition attracted 14,500 visitors and around 250 exhibitors and this year is expected to be even larger.