Franchising is booming in Scotland but there are still challenges to overcome
Some 15 years ago the British Franchise Association (bfa) identified a need to do more in the Scottish marketplace to promote the great things franchising could bring to the economy. A small group of some of the leading franchisors and professional affiliated advisors got together and created a group to champion ethical franchising and create lasting jobs and businesses in Scotland. The aim was to secure new franchised businesses and expand the profile of franchising.
I’m proud to say that the group certainly was succesful. We now have an established Scottish Franchise Week that brings together successful case studies of franchising entrepreneurship with platforms that educate both established franchisors and professionals as well as those just at the start of their journey.
Franchising is booming in Scotland. I estimate that by 2020 the sector in Scotland will be worth £1bn. Our 2015 bfa NatWest Survey showed turnover of £0.8bn, a 14% increase from the 2010 survey. And now some 43% of all franchise systems operating across the UK are currently active in Scotland. So franchising in Scotland is big business.
But while there certainly is a lot of optimism for franchises to flourish in the north, there are still hurdles to overcome. For starters, the industry should do more to inform budding franchisees about how they can raise funds for their enterprises. According to figures from the Scottish Parliament, only one in three Scottish SMEs has heard of alternative-finance options such as asset finance, crowdfunding or short-term online providers. Moreover, before setting up shop in bonnie Caledonia, English franchisors should double-check if legislative differences in Scotland means they need to adapt their model.
The aim for the bfa and our proactive support network in Scotland is to continue with the work to ensure anyone considering franchising has the right route to market. Whether it be helping someone find a business that is right for them or assisting a proven business achieve their dreams of national expansion, we’re here to help. As a community we have the skills to help people make franchising their future all over Blighty.