Franchising · 8 March 2019

International Women’s Day 2019: Trailblazer women in franchising

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Franchising is shaking off the old boys club mentality in Britain

International Women’s Day is the perfect time to praise the record achievements made by trailblazing females in the franchising industry, writes Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchising Association.

A global celebration, International Women’s Day marks an important day for men and women alike to collectively honour the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. While it is important to celebrate women across the world, it also essential that we recognise there is still more that needs to be done, with this year’s theme for IWD being #BalanceforBetter.

Franchising, not even 20 years ago, was perceived (rightly or wrongly) as an old boys’ club, lacking in diversity. Today, the rise in women in the industry has been astronomic. The 2018 bfa NatWest Franchise Survey has revealed women are increasingly seeing opportunities within franchising, with women representing 37% of new franchisees in the last two years and 65% of people employed in the franchising are women. The franchising industry employs 710,000 people and women are thriving in it.

Cheryl Hopkins, a franchisee for accounting firm TaxAssist Accountants in Tamworth and Nuneaton, has found that the franchising industry has given her the opportunity to maximise her talents while not sacrificing her family commitments.

Cheryl explains: “I was in a senior post in my previous employment, but I left because the hours and the workload didn’t suit me once I’d started a family. Franchising offered me the vehicle to become the master of my own destiny, but with full backup and support.

“It is fantastic to see more females involved in setting up their own businesses, and that franchising has empowered them to do so. There is so much talent and skill in the female workforce but I think women sometimes lack the confidence and self-belief that they can run their own business. Franchising has really worked for me, and it’s great to see it working for other women too.”

Women have long been expected to be the primary caregivers to children, and historically coupling this responsibility with attempting to have a fulfilling career has been near impossible. Franchising offers the opportunity to work for yourself in a challenging environment while keeping a flexible timetable to suit your commitments.

Amy Patel Popat, co-owner of Right at Home Solent, a domiciliary care provider,  agrees with this. “It’s great to see the rising number of female franchisees, which clearly shows a rise in the confidence of women who are entering the franchising and business worlds. For way too long, women have bowed-out of taking on the world of self-employment, feeling they can’t balance all their different duties – as women we have many! But this is what makes us great entrepreneurs too!”

The British Franchise Association is proud to see such an increase in women in the franchising sector. Proud advocates of women in the workforce, the bfa holds the annual event ‘Empowering Women in Business’. The purpose is to provide a platform for attendees to meet with like minded women, discuss issues and challenge roles within business.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Pip Wilkins’s journey into franchising and working at the British Franchise Association started at the age of 19, just before the turn of the century. Fast forward 20 years, and she is now CEO of the association. Pip believes the thriving franchise community is one with diversity and a collective passion that is rarely witnessed in the wider business world.

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