Steve Brine meets business leaders for franchise focus at Parliament

Steve Brine joined fellow MPs meeting with franchising industry leaders at the Houses of Parliament on 31st October to discuss the economic impact of franchising through sustainable business growth, new business start-up and job creation.

The media and government have long recognised that ethical franchising provides a robust formula for successful business start-up and job creation. However, the British Franchise Association (BFA) felt that the involvement of MPs is essential in helping get objective information to those that can benefit.

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 and we thank Steve Brine for his important support. 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."

Steve said: "I was delighted to be here today with colleagues. At this time it is vital we do all we can to support franchising, and I am very much looking forward to working with BFA in the future."

The recent NatWest BFA Franchise Survey showed that better than 90% of franchisees report their businesses to be profitable and the rate of commercial failure is currently running at less than 4% per year; between 6 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% and 6% respectively on last year. This creates employment for over 520,000 people and generates £12.4 billion income for the UK each year. In Winchester alone, there are at least 16 different franchise operations employing at least 220 people.

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.

Pictured; Steve joins local man Chris Addison of Auditel in the Commons

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