By Claire West

Franchising is becoming increasingly popular with people looking to make the next career move, as it offers the freedom of running your own business with the support of an established brand. According to the latest survey by NatWest and the British Franchise Association (bfa), the UK has seen an increase in the number of franchises, with more than half a million people working in the industry and generating £12.4billion for the UK economy in 2010.

At The National Franchise Exhibition, which takes place 30 September to 1 October at the NEC Birmingham, visitors can find out all they need to know in order to develop a career in franchising. There are around 150 franchise businesses to meet with covering sectors from food and drink to home improvement, property and travel, such as Subway, Bluebird Care, Countrywide Grounds Maintenance, Go Cruise and Ovenclean UK.

What’s more, The National Franchise Exhibition is exclusively supported by the British Franchise Association (bfa) and only features companies that meet the Association’s code of ethics.

The UK’s largest franchise event also has a number of free features offering support and guidance from banks, accountants, solicitors, franchising experts. Exclusive to The National Franchise Exhibition is an extensive free conference programme, including seminars by the bfa on key franchise-related topics including an introduction to franchising, families in franchising; growing your own business and executives in franchising.

Keynote speakers include John Johnson, Commercial Director at Johnsons Coaches, talking about Developing a business brand; Richard Forte, Chief Operations Officer of McDonalds Restaurants explaining How franchising give you the winning streak; Simon Jenner, Co-founder & Hannah Wolsey, Managing Director of The Urban Coffee Company whose presentation is entitled Starting a business - clueless and caffeine powered; and Chris Sargeant, Founder of The Handmade Burger Co who will advise on How to grow your business into a nationwide brand.

Adrian Goodsell, Franchise Exhibitions Manager at Venture Marketing Group, organisers of The National Franchise Exhibition, comments:

“A visit to the show is the perfect introduction to the world of franchising, showcasing the wide range of business available and putting visitors in contact with experts who can help them progress their career in the franchise industry.”

The exhibition is open from 10am each day, closing at 5pm on Friday and 4pm on Saturday. To register for The National Franchise Exhibition in Birmingham, call +44 (0)844 257 8668 visit www.franchiseinfo.co.uk. Callers can purchase tickets by credit card for £10 each or £8 each for two or more. Admission on the door is £15.

Visitors can, however gain FREE admission by using the promotional code NFEDD when they register on the website.