Women fuelling rise in franchising

A new study shows women and people under 30 are driving an increase in franchising.



Women and young people are driving an increase in franchising, according to a new report.

Analysis by British Franchise Association (bfa) and NatWest suggests there are now nearly 50,000 franchise businesses collectively contributing over £17bn and 710,000 jobs to the country’s economy and that more than a quarter of franchisees starting their business in the last two years were aged 30 or under at launch and 37% were women.

Pip Wilkins, the bfa’s chief executive, said: “The rate of female entrepreneurship is well above the national SME average, testament to the franchise community’s drive to empower women into business. We’ve come a long way since 2005, when more than 80% of newcomers were male.”

She adds: “It’s clear that it’s a popular and productive way for people to own their own business, and we’ve seen strong demand for access to finance around franchising services, both in taking on new franchises and expanding existing ones.”

The analysis shows regional economies have also benefited from the expanding sector, with economic growth since 2015 of 7% in the North East (to £800m), 18% in Wales (£500m), 11% in Yorkshire (£1bn) and 14% in the East Midlands (£1.2bn).

The data also revealed the continuation of a long-term trend: around 90% of franchisees – who own and operate their business using the brand, systems and support of a larger company – have reported profitability annually for over 20 years running.

Wilkins adds: “Franchising now covers a huge range of businesses, from hair care to healthcare, but is still to reach anything like the levels seen in the US, for example. With so many younger people now entering the sector, the future is in good hands.”

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