The Business Growth Service (BGS), which includes the Growth Accelerator programme, has been abolished by Chancellor George Osborne.
The unexpected move, which will save the Government a reported £84 million, means an end to the coaching and mentoring programme aimed at helping small businesses grow.
David Nelson of Mr Franchise, an independent professional service that helps people to find the right business opportunity for them, believes the closure of the Growth Accelerator programme will make franchising more attractive for budding entrepreneurs.
He said: “The withdrawal of the Business Growth Service has shocked the SME sector and ends a valuable access route to expert advice taken up by entrepreneurs and businesses with a real desire to learn how to grow and develop.
“The fact is that many people who start their own business independently find themselves isolated and with little or no access to the support systems they may need get off the ground and grow.
“Growing numbers of people are looking to become their own boss and are ready to start their own business.
“Taking the franchise route is becoming an increasingly popular choice and we believe the Chancellor’s decision will lead more would-be business owners towards the sector and the support it delivers.
“Good, professional franchise operations give their franchisees valuable, tailored support from day one, helping them to build a significant and profitable local business.
“Franchising is about being in business for yourself, but not by yourself. You get a tried and tested business model and a franchise is proven to be far more likely to succeed than a non-franchise start up.
“Choosing the right business is vital. Get it right and you can see the benefits from day one. Good, professional franchisors will help provide websites, training initiatives, software to help in your processes and a raft of valuable marketing material.
“As a standalone business the cost of all that is much higher and on top of the savings, there is also a support network behind you, which our clients tell us is invaluable, particularly in the early days.”
The sector is fast growing with 561,000 people now employed in franchising in the UK. That represents a 20% increase over the past five years. The overall contribution of the sector to the UK economy is £13.7 billion – which is just under 1% of GDP.
David Nelson added: “Despite the loss of the BGS, the Government says its agenda is to focus firmly on growth.
“We believe franchising can play an increasingly important role in delivering that growth, creating profitable businesses and much-needed employment. It is an option that everyone considering becoming a business owner should take time to explore.”
Mr Franchise, which currently has offices in Lancashire, the West Midlands and Cheshire, plans to create 5,000 new UK business owners over the next five years.
It has also revealed it is looking to develop its professional services on a national level – and aims to have 50 offices operating across the UK by the end of the decade.
The expert Mr Franchise team helps people discover the right business opportunity for them – one that matches their skills, lifestyle, ambitions and investment capability. It is independent of any specific franchise brand.
The three entrepreneurs who run Mr Franchise – Iain Martin, David Nelson and Kathryn Orange – all have successful track records in founding, running and growing businesses and together they have half a century of experience in the franchise sector.
Mr Franchise says business opportunities exist in a wide range of sectors, from food and drink to pet care and travel.
For more details about Mr Franchise and its services please visit www.mrfranchiseuk.com
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