By Marcus Leach

The franchising sector is bucking the downward trend in British business with record numbers of companies successfully franchising their businesses and individuals buying these business opportunities.

At a reception in Norwich on Friday (23 September), MPs, officials from UK
Trade and Industry (UKTI), as well as representatives from major banks heard
about how many more people want to be their own bosses and that banks have funds readily available for this sector.

National Franchise Week starts on Monday, 26 September and culminates with
the National Franchise Exhibition on Friday, 30 September and Saturday, 1
October at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

Professor Roy Seaman, CFE, Managing Director of Franchise Development
Services(FDS), a Norwich-based leader of the field, says that there are
currently more than 1,500 franchisors trading in the UK and 2,500 businesses
looking at expanding their business this way.

“More than 95,000 people own and operate a franchise and FDS has a further
105,000, who have registered an interest with FDS in owning a franchise,”
he added. “The sector had an estimated turnover of £12.4 billion in 2010
and employs over 500,000 people.

“HSBC has already lent 150 per cent of the whole figure for last year on
the back of a record figure for 2010 and has told us that there is no limit
on the amount of capital available it can lend to the franchising sector.

Mark Scott, Director, Franchise Development at NatWest said: “The launch
of our £100 million fund earlier in the year demonstrates our commitment to
the franchise sector in our 30th year. It has been exceptionally well
received by franchisors and franchisees alike, with over half the fund drawn
or allocated in just a little over six months. With the last quarter of the
year approaching, this is traditionally the busiest time for franchise
lending and we look forward to the coming months.”

Lloyds TSB Commercial has 50 trained franchise managers across the UK who
are available to support people looking to invest in franchise
opportunities.

Richard Holden, Head of Franchising at Lloyds banking Group, added: “There
is no limitation on the finance available from the bank to assist people set
up their franchise business. Demand for franchising finance is high and
Lloyds TSB Commercial views franchising as a key market.”

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