£500m SME fund launched by HSBC to support franchise businesses

HSBC UK has launched a £500m fund to support franchise businesses, as part of its commitment to help British businesses to innovate, thrive and grow in the UK and internationally.

The fund is part of a broader £15bn lending fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK, supporting regional economies, employment opportunities and driving growth.

HSBC says that franchising can provide a capital-efficient and lower-risk way of starting a business and its customers have reported that they are also thinking about growth via investment, acquisitions and capital expenditure. Whilst concerns about the broader market remain, businesses have also told HSBC that they are ready to grow and are confident about prospects for their own businesses – with the biggest areas of opportunity for growth in sustainability (12%) and digitisation (11%).

Gillian Morris, head of franchise, HSBC UK, said: “Franchisees make a significant contribution to economies across the country, driving employment, local wealth and growth. With 93% of franchisees being profitable, according to the British Franchise Association, it is a great route towards expansion for established successful business, as well as start-ups looking to grow and is vital to the UK’s collective recovery. The £500m lending fund will help more businesses to access finance and support businesses to grow.”

The bank adds that its dedicated franchise team provides specialist knowledge and support focusing entirely on the sector. Franchisees can benefit from a central helpdesk offering advice and liaison with its local banking managers, and funding of up to 70% of start-up costs is available for franchisees joining an established network.

Since 2014, HSBC says that it has lent more than £90bn to UK SMEs.