As the year comes to an end, I thought I would reflect on how the UK franchising sector has fared during 2013.
It has continued to be a challenging economic environment and there have once again been some high profile retail failures during the year, with well known names such as Tie Rack, Blockbusters, Past Times, Dwell, HMV and Comet all disappearing from our high streets.
However, franchising has remained resilient during these difficult times. This is mainly due to the wide spectrum of industries covered by franchised businesses, the strength of the business model and the support provided by franchisors and other franchisees within the same networks.
During the year, we have continued to provide funding for strong franchise propositions and in fact it has been yet another record year for HSBC franchise financing.
Deals have included funding for one of the leading KFC franchise businesses to expand their presence in the South West with the acquisition of three outlets and the opening of a brand new restaurant in the area, securing a seven figure-funding package from HSBC to support the expansion.
We have also funded a wide range of franchise start ups, from fast food, to domiciliary care, to B2B – providing funding for premises based, van based and home or office based franchises. HSBC support strong, viable franchises across all sectors and all sizes, throughout the economic cycle.
We’ve also been celebrating success in franchising in 2013 – our bfa HSBC Franchisor of the Year Award winner, Home Instead Senior Care, have had another hugely successful year, with revenues growing by more than 40% for the sixth year in a row and CEO Trevor Brocklebank listed in the Top Ten Most Influential People in the UK Care Sector.
The bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year awards saw new categories in 2013, allowing us to identify a range of highly successful franchisees – with our Female franchisee of the year, Janis Anderson of Caremark, winning the overall title too.
As 2013 draws to a close, franchisors and franchisees should be proud of what they have achieved. It is time to move confidently into 2014, ready to face the challenges ahead. HSBC Franchise team is looking forward to continuing our support to the sector.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and a very successful 2014.
Cathryn Hayes is HSBC Bank’s head of franchising.
The Government has announced a £25 million fund intended to support a further 10,000 apprenticeship places.
The plan is that the extra money will boost training in such sectors as manufacturing, information technology and engineering.
The Higher Apprenticeships fund will support the expansion of apprenticeships up to degree equivalent in firms, particularly SMEs, where there is demand for the higher level skills that are necessary to create additional jobs.
The new apprenticeships will commence from October 2011.
Announcing the fund, the Prime Minister, David Cameron said: “It is crucial that we build up the skills in this country that our businesses need and that will fuel long term growth. That is why, despite some difficult decisions on spending, we are increasing the number of apprenticeships to record levels.
“We are investing in apprenticeships because we know they work – they are good for people who want to get ahead, good for business and good for the country.”
Business Secretary, Vince Cable added: “As I work with the business community to rebalance and grow the economy, apprenticeships will increasingly deliver not just basic training, but also the high level, high tech skills that drive growth.
“The Higher Apprenticeships Fund is a crucial step towards placing vocational learning on a par with academic study, giving bright youngsters the opportunity to work with and build the most dynamic firms in the country.”
The Higher Apprenticeships Fund is part of a package of additional investment in apprenticeships totalling £180 million, announced in this year’s Budget. The Government is committed to funding some 360,000 apprenticeships this financial year alone.
More details can be found at http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/employers/the-basics/higher-apprenticeships.aspx
Carl Reader is the head of franchising at franchise accountants Dennis & Turnbull, a leading firm of accountants in the franchise industry.
The above information is provided as general advice and no liability is accepted by the author, Dennis & Turnbull or Select Your Franchise in respect of individuals or businesses acting on the above. Independent advice should be sought in all circumstances.
January is a month of resolutions for many people and businesses alike. Come the New Year, we all think back to what we did or didn’t do that we wanted to, what goals we met and what we should have achieved. New Year is not all nostalgia though, in fact it’s the opportune time to organise your franchise business, prioritise long term initiatives and assign short term goals to team members. A new year means change, so here are 10 points to help businesses adapt their plans to make the most of 2013.