A recent report reveals the healthy state of the franchise sector and how during 2018, it produced a huge range of opportunities for those entering the market.

At the launch of the 2018 bfa NatWest Franchise Survey, the 31st time the association has distributed the report, findings proved to be record-breaking on many levels. The study highlighted how franchising continues to thrive and enable opportunities.

Since the last report was published, the net contribution to the economy has grown by over £2bn to £17.2bn, franchise units are at an all-time-high at 48,600, 710,000 people are employed in franchising, a rise of 89,000, and there are more female franchisees and more under 30 franchisees than ever before.

To highlight the points around youth and female franchisee ownership, 37% of new franchisees in the past two years have been female, a huge rise of 20%, and 30% of all franchisees are now female. At Razzamataz, a Dragons’ Denbacked theatre school franchise, the overwhelming majority of the franchisees are female, although it is wonderful that there are successful male franchisees who make fantastic role models for the students.

One of the main reasons is the flexibility that the franchise model offers, which attracts many working parents to the business as Kayleigh Redford, franchisee of Razzamataz Newcastle explains: “I’ve got a baby and a four-year old and I can work out my schedule around them so I can be there for them when they need me.” Debbi Ledwith, the franchisee of Razzamataz Newbury adds: “Due to a change in my personal circumstances, I wanted to spend more time with my three young children and needed more flexibility in my working life than teaching could give me. I am able to do my work when they are in bed, so I don’t lose any time with them.”

The survey also highlighted that 18% of all franchisees are also reported to be under 30, rising from 3% in 2015, and of new franchisees in the past two years under the age of 30, 52% were female. “We have certainly seen many more young people come into our business and with our support and guidance, have gone on to have very successful theatre schools,” says Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz. “When we select the people who we want to become franchisees, we are not looking for experience as such. What’s more important is the drive and determination they have to make the school a success with our support.”

Nick Furlong and Gemma Hextall are the joint Principals of Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield, who have successfully grown their school term on term and are a shining example of why young people make wonderful franchisees. They took over the school when Gemma was 22 and Nick 23.

“It was a dream we had always had, to run our own theatre school, but never imagined it would be so soon,” says Nick. “We ambitiously, nervously and excitedly took the plunge and embarked on our most challenging, busiest yet magical project of our lives. To say it has been life changing would be an understatement. We grew the school beyond what even our youthful optimism could have ever imagined. By the end of year one the school was double the size and to date, we have grown the school by over 540% from when we took over. We now employ the most incredible team of ten staff and run on a Tuesday evening, Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon.”

The bfa NatWest Franchise Survey states that franchising is enabling people from all walks of life to thrive and Denise could not agree more. “As we approach our 19 years in business, it is amazing to look back on what our network has achieved,” she says. “2018 was particularly special for our Medway franchisee Hayley Limpkin who was awarded two awards in the British Franchise Association Awards. Having studied franchising as part of her Masters, she was attracted to the strong and credible brand that Razzamataz has.”

Hayley opened her school in September 2010 after working in a lead marketing agency for seven years. She decided to swap the busy corporate life for her dream of owning her own theatre school. However, in November 2014, Hayley’s young son had a very serious illness which led her to reconsider the structure of her schools. “I strongly believe that if I had continued in my corporate career, there would have been no way that I could have continued to work after Finlay’s diagnosis,” says Hayley. “The wonderful thing about being in a Razzamataz franchise is that we can build our own teams and create the flexibility that works for every individual.”

For the first time ever, Denise and the Head Office team have extended a special opportunity to interested franchisees to be invited to the network’s Conference in Birmingham in January 2019. A group of specially invited potential franchisees will meet the MD, other school Principals and find out more about the theatre school and franchising in general.

To find out more,chat to Head of Recruitment Suzieon E:suzie@razzamataz.co.ukor call 07793 054 233. For more details visit: www.razzamataz.co.uk. There are currently opportunities to take over existing schools in Hackney and Reading.