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Scotland -Vibrant market for franchising

Franchising took on a decidedly Scottish flavour early in June for the inaugural Scottish Franchise Week (SFW), a week of events presented by the British Franchise Association's Franchise Group for Scotland (FGFS). Scottish rugby star Gavin Hastings licked off SFW on June 7 with a launch event at franchised pub Archies.

While Mr Hastings may be more famous for wearing the blue Scottish rugby jersey, his clothing interests now extend further and he is an Eden Park franchisee. Eden Park decided to expand its franchised clothing brand in the UK and Ireland three years ago and Mr Hastings jumped at the chance to be involved as franchisee. This made him a great ambassador for SFW - a week of events devoted to capitalising on the Scots' appetite to embrace franchising as a form of starting and running a business.

FGFS Chair, and Post Office National Franchise Manager, Lesley Cartwright said: "Gavin formed Hastings International with the skills and discipline learned on rugby fields around the world and is now a franchisee with Eden Park, a clothing retailer that has strong links with the world of rugby."

BFA Chairman and Cash Generator Managing Director Brian Lewis said franchising had been making inroads in showing the community that it was a good way of starting a running a business. "Most people just don't recognise the opportunities that franchising has got to offer them. They have a fixed idea that employment is 'safe' and that running your own business is very, very risky. "Well employment isn't safe and running your own business need not be a risky business. The aim of Scottish Franchise Week is quite simple - to introduce good ethical franchising to as wide an audience in Scotland as possible."

Other SFW events included two franchise awareness seminars held in Glasgow (June 9) and Edinburgh (June 10) for prospective franchisees to get a taste of Business Format Franchising. The seminars, facilitated by whichfranchise.com and run in conjunction with Business Gateway were full of useful advice on investing in a franchise business.

Whichfranchise.com Managing Director Johnny Sellyn also gave a brief overview on franchising in Scotland at Balmoral Breakfast Connections, in association with Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. BFA Provisionally Listed Member Smart Cartridge Business Development Director Suzie Lampshire highlighted why Smart Cartridge decided to franchise its business and Mark McCluskey from Kall Kwik, and current BFA Franchisee of the Year, explained what it was really like being a franchisee. Almost 40 chamber members attended the breakfast briefing to hear from speakers devoted to franchising in Scotland.

Tom Maclean from BFA Full Member Pitman Training, Edinburgh, said: "Having been involved in franchising as a franchisee since 1987, it is nice to see the profile being raised in Scotland. "Events like the Chamber breakfast will help increase awareness of the benefits of franchising as a business model for both parties. Over the years we have felt isolated from the rest of the business community through a lack of understanding and that is now beginning to change."

SFW concluded with the British Franchise Exhibition at Glasgow SECC on June 11 and 12. Visitors to the exhibition attended free franchise seminars presented by the BFA to help them decide whether franchising was their way to self-employment, or the best way for them to expand their business.

The FGFS was formed in March 2002 after the BFA recognised a real potential for franchising and the need to coordinate efforts to raise the profile of the sector in Scotland. The group brings together the champions for ethical franchising in Scotland and, with the strap line 'Creating Lasting Jobs and Businesses in Scotland', aims to increase the number of franchise systems in Scotland by 100 and franchisees by 1,000 within the next five years.

BFA Deputy Director Simon Wise said: "Scotland is proving to be a vibrant marketplace for franchising. Against this backdrop of growing potential the BFA established its Franchise Group for Scotland - a group which has set about growing the franchise industry in Scotland."

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