RBS and NatWest are committed to supporting UK enterprise. This is why they are launching a new initiative to help new and existing franchise businesses start up and grow in 2011.
The franchise sector has remained remarkably buoyant throughout the downturn. Statistics from the British Franchise Association (BFA) show that nine out of 10 franchises remained profitable throughout the recession.
Peter Ibbetson, chairman of small business for NatWest and RBS says: "Everybody wants to see banks funding business growth, as well as helping new businesses get off the ground to create jobs - this is exactly what this fund will deliver. The industry has shown itself to be virtually recession-proof, so for the many people left out of work by the recession franchising is a great way to start up a business - plus they get the support of a big brand behind them."
Recession-proof is right. At the height of the economic downturn, the franchise industry's turnover increased to £11.8 billion - with 94% of franchisors optimistic about the future. The franchise model is a low-risk, straightforward route to running a business - especially attractive to first-time entrepreneurs. And, interestingly, more women are now choosing franchising as a means to take the leap into enterprise. The BFA's annual survey shows the number of female franchisees increased by 86% in the last seven years.
Brian Smart, director general of the BFA comments: "The fund is a great way to encourage new entrants into this vibrant sector. The UK Franchise industry has performed well in recent years and we welcome the further investment to build on this momentum."
The RBS/NatWest Franchise Fund: Key points