Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) and Scottish business leaders have committed to increase the awareness, knowledge and business education surrounding franchising in Scotland following a meeting at Holyrood in Edinburgh with the British Franchise Association (bfa) and businesses from the Scottish franchising sector last month.
This followed the successful work of the bfa's Scottish Franchise Week, sponsored by Lloyds TSB.
The MSPs, from Scotland’s three major political parties, pledged to hold a parliamentary reception later this year after learning of the compelling advantages inherent in the franchising model (over 90% of franchisees reported profitability last year), of the significant contribution franchising makes to the Scottish economy (£800 million during 2011) and of the industry’s long-term sustainability, resilience and robustness throughout the economic downturn (36,000 stable jobs). The reception will feature a much greater cross-section of MSPs, and will focus on increasing the education and understanding of the strengths of franchising within both parliament and the business world, at a time when politicians from all parties are looking for ways to help the economy grow.
The meeting was hosted by Joe FitzPatrick of the Scottish National Party (SNP) alongside Mary Scanlon of the Scottish Conservative Party and Anne McTaggart of the Scottish Labour Party. They were joined by business leaders including representatives from the Institute of Directors, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Business Gateway and Firstport social enterprise.
Brian Smart, director general of the bfa, said: “Franchising is a key component of the Scottish economy and I am hugely encouraged by the levels of appreciation, enthusiasm and commitment being shown towards the industry. If we can promote ethical franchising and educate people about its merits, together with the help of MSPs and Scottish business leaders, then the industry in Scotland will be well-placed to go from strength to strength.”
Richard Holden, head of franchising at Lloyds Banking Group, who have a long-established commitment to franchising in Scotland through their annual support of Scottish Franchise Week, agreed: “The dinner stimulated an interesting debate and without doubt raised awareness of how franchising has successfully contributed to the Scottish economy and created jobs. With the firm commitment from key influencers and the MSPs in attendance to give franchising a greater focus, the future development of franchising in Scotland is looking good.”
Commitments from the business community included the Scottish Chambers of Commerce outlining plans to contact its regional Chambers to promote the franchising model and provide advice and information to their business training mentors to better inform Scottish businesses about the opportunities available to franchisors.