New research on UK franchising has revealed a business sector operating at record heights, with much of the recent growth driven by female entrepreneurs, including many under the age of 30. 

There are now nearly 50,000 franchise businesses collectively contributing over £17bn and 710,000 jobs to the country’s economy, according to data from the British Franchise Association (bfa) and NatWest.

In the last two years, more than one-quarter of franchisees starting their business were aged 30 or under at launch, and 37% of all newer franchisees, over the last two years, are women. Women now make up 30% of all franchisees, up 7% since the last survey results in 2015. Of all those under 30 taking becoming a franchisee in the last two years, 52% were female.

Pip Wilkins, the bfa’s chief executive, said:

“Thanks to franchising, more people are starting their own business and more jobs are being created. These figures show that whatever your background, with the right attitude and ambition you can thrive.

The rate of female entrepreneurship is well above the national SME average, testament to the franchise community’s drive to empower women into business. We’ve come a long way since 2005, when more than 80% of newcomers were male.

Furthermore, the report highlighted that of the 710,000 employed in franchising, 65% are female. There are numerous factors for this, including the flexibility roles in franchising can provide, with just under 50% of the jobs being part-time.

Franchising continues to be ahead of the wider business sphere when it comes to promoting and enabling women. While the results were not massively surprising for me, they were very pleasing.”

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