RBS Natwest have today launched a £100m fund to help boost the UK’s already-buoyant and growing franchise market. With small business being heavily relied on over the next few years to drive job creation and recovery in the wider UK economy, franchises are playing a very important role and this new fund is designed to “kickstart growth” and create, in their estimation, up to 24,000 new jobs by helping both new and existing franchises to grow.
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.”
Franchising is already well-established in the UK with franchised businesses regularly outperforming stand-alone start-ups and the industry as a whole bucking the recession of the past couple of years. At the height of the economic downturn in 2009 the franchise industry’s turnover increased by nearly £1bn to £11.8 billion, with 94% of franchisors optimistic about the future of their business.
Interestingly, in a recession that appears to be hitting women disproportionately hard in terms of redundancies, more and more women are seeing franchising as a route to self-employment and taking control of their professional and financial future. According to the BFA 2010 Survey, the number of women becoming franchisees has increased by 86% since 2003.
Key points of the RBS Natwest Fund include:
- Loans of up to 70% for new franchise businesses
- Two years free banking for new franchises
- Reduced fee of 1%
- Up to 12 months of capital repayment holidays
- Loans for existing franchise businesses
- Access to an unlimited expertise from the dedicated RBS/NatWest franchise team