FranchisingWorks, which is currently operating a self-employment programme to create jobs through franchising in the Greater Manchester area, has enlisted five franchisors – Caremark, the Creation Station, Ovenclean, Snap-On Tools and VIP Bin Cleaning.
The Manchester programme is being sponsored by the RBS Group, NESTA, the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) and Manchester’s New Economy. FranchisingWorks provides financial support to buy franchise licences for those successful candidates who are unable to cover the full cost themselves. When the new business becomes profitable, the franchisee then buys the licence from FranchisingWorks and repays the initial investment.
One of the latest successes is Andrew Hurley, of Oldham, who has taken a franchise with Snap-On Tools through this system. He was a business development manager for 10 years, but was made redundant in 2009. After various other short-term jobs and a 12-month period of unemployment, he was introduced to FranchisingWorks through his local Job Centre.
He recalls: “The initial workshop was very informative, and I valued the level of understanding and experience that the programme manager had in the franchise industry.
“The ongoing guidance and support was fantastic and the level of due diligence they carried out on both me and the franchise company I was interested in was second to none.
“Also the ability of FranchisingWorks to help me get access to funding made my business feasible.”
In another initiative, FranchisingWorks, which is part of the Shaftesbury Partnership, the social reform group, has joined a small consortium along with Blue Orchid, A4e and Business Finance North-West that has being appointed by the Royal British Legion (RBL) to deliver its Be the Boss programme for Armed Forces leavers across the country. This offers business start-up training, grants and loans up to £30,000 and mentoring to ex-Armed Forces personnel who are interested in starting up their own business.
Launching the RBL scheme at the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, Mark Prisk, MP, the Business Minister, said it would provide a means for many ex-service personnel whose employment options are limited by injury to become entrepreneurs. Service people faced distinctive difficulties in starting businesses, such as a lack of a network after a mobile career, and this is reflected in the low rate of self-employment in this group, which is just six per cent, he said.
His department was very grateful for the sterling work done by RBL. It had not previously been involved with enterprise as it was a charity, principally concerned with providing welfare services. “It is now very switched on to encouraging enterprise amongst its members,” he said.
Robert Dancy, the programme manager for FranchisingWorks in Greater Manchester, described its scheme at the Franchise Supplier Showcase, where Craig Henthorn, managing director of Caremark, reported that two of his franchisees who had opened at Oldham through the scheme were “very, very promising in their approach and attituded”.