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This autumn will see the return of the UK’s largest and most prestigious franchise event in the industry calendar. Budding entrepreneurs are invited to attend the highly anticipated National Franchise Exhibition which will showcase a range of exciting national business opportunities at Birmingham’s NEC.

The event is the key opportunity for aspiring business owners to meet face-to-face with hundreds of industry experts, franchise brands and established franchisees. Sponsored this year by the world’s No.1 health and fitness franchise, Anytime Fitness, the two-day event is free to attend and expected to attract thousands of visitors from across the UK. Those interested in attending can book their free ticket at using the code FMA1.

The Franchise Exhibitions are exclusively in association with the British Franchise Association (bfa), ensuring visitors can trust that every exhibitor has shown proven results and meet the association’s strict code of ethics. Pip Wilkins, Head of Operations at the British Franchise Association, comments on the significance a bfa-approved event has for attendees, “It reassures visitors that these are the only events where the trade body representing the sector has taken a snapshot assessment of each exhibitor, members and non-members alike, against a range of criteria – such as the franchise agreement and financial performance – allowing only those brands that can satisfy this process to be put in front of them.”

Representing a wide range of sectors including healthcare, food and drink, retail, fitness, recruitment, cleaning, and property, the exhibition is a must-attend for anyone considering the franchise business model. Among the established brands attending this year will be Dublcheck, Anytime Fitness McDonald’s, Platinum Property Partners, Wok&Go, Kare Plus, Mac Tools and many more.

The UK has become a nation of entrepreneurs, with 581,000 new businesses founded last year alone; more than one a minute. Continuing to support the UK economy, franchising continues to be a successful and safeguarded route to owning a business, with over 500,000 Brits employed in the sector and industry turnover amounting to £13.7 billion. Pip Wilkins, comments on the main benefits of franchising, “The opportunity to be part of something bigger, running your own business but with training, support and expertise to call on whenever necessary, is a significant advantage.

Being able to access the experience and back-up of head office and other franchisees in the network is invaluable, and means that being self-employed doesn’t have to mean being on your own. A reputable franchisor will be able to show evidence of their success, and have a training programme in place to help new franchisees to replicate it."

A variety of free additional features, as well as first hand guidance from industry experts, will also be available to those attending the exhibition. Features include an extensive seminar programme offering over 60 free seminars where a range of professionals will discuss the required tools and advice to set up and manage a successful franchise business. Representatives from the bfa, business advisers, legal and financial professionals, franchisors and franchisees will cover a range of relevant topics. These include an introduction to franchising, how to avoid any pitfalls and how to raise finance for your franchise business.

One couple who visited the 2014 event was Michelle and Gavin from Stockton on Tees who became part of the Home Instead Senior Care team just five months after the exhibition. With Michelle’s parents both falling ill over the last year, the care industry is one that is close to her heart. Living far away and having her own family priorities, Michelle felt torn between work and family life, “When we met with Home Instead, we realised we could satisfy both these needs.”

The couple commented on their experience at the event, “It was very worthwhile and is now changing our lives for the better. The experience helped to confirm our belief that we would have what it takes to run our own business. The seminars provided a lot of information and answers to questions we didn’t know we needed to ask.” Gavin added: “The beauty of franchising is that there is minimal trial and error – it’s a proven concept if you follow the model.”

A highly popular feature at The National Franchise Exhibition, the McDonald’s Open Sessions, will be returning once again to the NEC.

These invaluable seminars offer visitors a rare insight into one of the world’s most successful businesses. Visitors will be able to meet face-to-face with McDonald’s staff and learn about the company’s first-class franchisee training programme. With over 1,200 restaurants in the UK serving more than 3 million customers every day, the open sessions are an unmissable opportunity for those interested in breaking into the food industry. McDonald’s will be looking for potential franchisees with a hard working approach to running a customer orientated business.

The event does not stop there; visitors can also put their burning questions to the ‘Real Franchise Stories’ panellists. These interactive open-floor discussions will feature current franchisees who will provide detailed accounts of their business journey. These sessions give attendees insightful and personal details from those who have experienced the transition from aspiring entrepreneur to fully fledged franchisee.

Along with seminars and workshops, the exhibition will also offer one-to-one advice clinics. The experts from Franchise Finance will be holding a Finance Clinic offering visitors help with drafting a business plan or raising funds for their new career path. Career choices can be hard to make without support, that’s why Personal Career Management will be facilitating a Careers Clinic on both days of the event. This aims to help visitors establish their skill set and match them to the best suited opportunity available.

Guests are able to visit for more information on The National Franchise Exhibition. For all the latest news follow the exhibition on Twitter; @UKFranchising, join The Franchise Exhibitions Group on LinkedIn or ‘like’ the Franchiseinfo group on Facebook.


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