Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Franchising a ‘low risk’ Start up option for individuals and a proven growth strategy for existing businesses

Commercial Feature

Apprentice finalist Jim Eastwood visits the Ortus stand at the inaugural
Northern Ireland Franchise Show in November 2011
Apprentice finalist Jim Eastwood visits the Ortus stand at the inaugural Northern Ireland Franchise Show in November 2011

Franchising is an often misconstrued concept that conjures up notions of huge chains such as McDonalds or KFC in many people's minds.

The large investment required for these franchises leads some people to overlook franchising as a viable option.

The truth is that there are many small, local franchises that attract starting fees of only a couple of thousand pounds rather than the hundreds of thousands required by these large chains. With many small to medium sized enterprises in Northern Ireland now also realising the growth potential that the franchising model has to offer, the franchising sector here is starting to spring to life.

Seamus O'Prey, Chief Executive at Ortus, Northern Ireland's franchise experts, commented: “As Northern Ireland's leading franchise consultants, we aim to address the knowledge gap that exists around franchising by delivering franchising programmes to both individuals who are interested in starting up in business and to businesses who want to grow using the franchising model.

“These programmes are delivered on behalf of local councils across Northern Ireland. The current wave of interest in franchising comes from the Ortus organised Northern Ireland Franchise Show which experienced triple the expected footfall and a huge level of interest from exhibitors and the general public alike”.

The UK franchise sector is currently valued at £12.4 billion and employs 521,000 people and the Irish franchise sector is worth £2.1billion, employing 43,000 people. These impressive UK and Irish figures point to the huge potential in the relatively untapped franchise market in Northern Ireland.

With a 95% success rate and with 90% of franchise outlets in the UK being profitable in the last year despite adverse economic conditions; it's no surprise that franchising is becoming an increasingly attractive career move for individuals (particularly those in a redundancy situation), an attractive growth strategy for established businesses and an increasingly attractive investment opportunity for banks.

The upcoming Social Franchising Programme also intends to highlight the potential that lies in Franchising for Social Enterprises that have a desire to generate additional revenue in order to fill the gap left by a reduction in the amount of funding available.

The Social Franchising Programme is an Invest Northern Ireland initiative that is being delivered by Ortus.

For further details on this programme please email hq@ortus.org

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