British & International Franchise Exhibition at Olympia

If you’re new to franchising and looking for a franchise you need to spend at least a day at the British & International Franchise Exhibition at Olympia, London, on Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17, organised by the Venture Marketing Group.

In addition to the franchisors’ stands offering a wide range of franchised businesses with setting-up costs of less than £20,000 to more than £100,000, the show will include regular seminars and presentations explaining the pros and cons of franchising from the perspective of both potential franchisees and companies planning to franchise their business.

Franchising operates world-wide and advice will also be available on importing and exporting franchise systems for those who would like to take the fast-track to becoming a franchisor and bring a successful foreign system into the UK, and conversely there will also be help for British franchisors with ambitions to expand abroad.

Visitors will be able to meet face-to-face with exhibitors such as Cash & Cheque Express, Go Cruise, Platinum Property Partners, Snappy Snaps and Totally Clean Solutions.

The exhibition is the only event in London supported by the British Franchise Association (BFA) and only companies that have met its code of ethics are accredited to exhibit. This means visitors can have confidence in that the franchises on offer have been assessed as ethical.

An extensive conference features experts from the BFA, members from the legal and finance professions, business advisers, as well both franchisors and franchisees of members. Aspiring entrepreneurs will learn all they need to know in order to take the next steps in the search for their ideal franchise.

The conference has a wide range of over 40 insightful seminars covering topics such as high-level investment franchising, franchise resales, executives in franchising, families in franchising, growing your own business, hands-on franchising, and international franchising.

For those looking to capitalise on international opportunities in the UK, or set up a franchise abroad, the international zone will be of particular interest, providing important information on what franchise opportunities are available, how to gain funding, advice on procedures, and pitfalls to avoid.

A regular and popular feature at the show is the franchisee panel. Visitors can hear about the transition from employee to franchisee as well as true stories, advice and anecdotes from the franchisees themselves. Due to popular demand, there will be multiple sessions taking place throughout the two days.

Visitors with a large amount of capital to invest can have valuable conversations with franchised companies in the high investment VIP lounge. Sponsored by Platinum Property Partners, this feature enables people to meet and network, while also keeping in touch with their office through WiFi.

Growing Your Own Business
As part of an extensive free conference at the event, there will be a series of Growing Your Own Business seminars, where established entrepreneurs and business experts will give business tips, advice and details of their experience of setting up on their own, providing visitors with the know-how and confidence to take the plunge for themselves.

They will include William Chase, who established and grew Tyrrells crisps, turning it into a £40m premium brand. He then sold the majority share to build Williams Chase Distillery producing premium gin and vodka from his home-grown potatoes and apples.

Chase Vodka, a pure potato vodka, has gained worldwide recognition, having been awarded the World’s Best Vodka title and a double gold medal in the spirits awards in San Francisco out of 247 vodkas from 57 countries worldwide.

In his presentation, “Potatoes – an unlikely route to success” he will explain how the distillery has proved that even a boutique business can compete with larger distillers by producing quality not quantity. Chase Vodka has enjoyed success across the globe with the U.S. expected to become the company’s largest market.

Another speaker will be Sarah Lu, founder of Youdoo Doll and StartBrand-Agency, who will explain the development of her two companies, including her successful pitch on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den.

At the age of 21, she set up her first business, Shortlong Graphics with funding from the Prince’s Trust. She sold it and then worked at advertising agencies in New York.

She founded Youdoo Doll in 2007 and the create your own “mini-me” product which gained investment on the BBC programme. To date, she has produced a range of Youdoo Doll products, acting as inventor, supplier and worldwide distributor.

Last year she started the StartBrand-Agency, a business advisory, design and marketing agency, specifically targeted at new business start-ups. With her experience and flair for new enterprise, combined with the support of local and international businesses, the agency helps entrepreneurs realise their dreams. After launching only a few months ago, it already has 34 clients.

Adrian Goodsell, franchise exhibitions manager at Venture Marketing Group commented: “The current economic climate has brought with it challenges for small business owners. Our seminars and exhibition are designed to ensure entrepreneurs make the most of the support tools available and develop skills to help them achieve business success.”

Franchise Marketing Awards 2012Marketing awards
The winners of the Franchise Marketing Awards presented by Venture will be announced at the show.
Judged by an independent panel of experts and supported by the BFA, the awards recognise the industry’s most innovative and effective marketing campaigns. The awards include: best website, best print advert, best franchisee marketing support, best online marketing campaign, and best overall marketing campaign.

Goodsell said: “The awards represent an opportunity for franchise businesses to gain recognition for their achievements and celebrate their hard work. Past winners have found the accolade invaluable for promoting their business, as well as providing an opportunity to reward hard work and boost staff motivation.”

Award information and criteria can be downloaded along with an award entry form at awards/2012.

Full listings and guide
If your tour of the show doesn’t turn up a handful of franchises to interest you, or leaves you short of advice, pick up a copy of the 2012 edition of the British Franchise Directory & Guide, which will be on the Franchise World stand at a special show price and visit the new website,, click the banner to the right.

The new edition, which is in a more handy, pocket-size provides complete listings by business categories of more than 1,300 businesses, both BFA members and non-members, offering franchises in the UK.

With a foreword by Sir Bernard Ingham, president of the BFA, the 28th edition of this popular directory carries exclusive articles by the leading authorities on the main aspects of the business to provide a how-to guide for both prospective and practising franchisees and franchisors.

There are valuable examples of the most common forms of franchise contract – a single unit franchise and a master franchise – written by the leading franchise solicitor, Mark Abell, of Field Fisher Waterhouse, the City law firm. These provide a guide that sets out the obligations of the two parties.

The exhibition will be open from 10am each day, closing at 5pm on Friday, March 16 and 4pm on Saturday, March 17.