2023: Women will Lead the Franchising Industry

Pip Wilkins, CEO of BFA (British Franchise Association)

I believe what makes franchising a good fit for women, is similar to what makes it good for anyone. It is the comfort of having a proven business model, proper support structures and a known brand you can be a part of.

Pip Wilkins, CEO of BFA (British Franchise Association)
A recent article said that the proportion of British microbusinesses owned by women has surged during the cost-of-living crisis and since the start of the pandemic. Since 2020, the split is 47% female vs 52% male, and in businesses created in the past 12 months it’s 46% female vs 53% male. I thought this would surprise me, but it just reassured what I already knew: women are leading the way. It may have been random. It may have been changes to post-pandemic working practices that were enabling more women to move into senior roles and open businesses. But one thing was for sure; since 2020, women have been leading figures in many sectors, including franchising, and that trend is here to continue. This rise in female business dominance has even made many people call for women to play a central role in the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery. This is following evidence revealing companies with more female leaders outperform those dominated by men, according to House of Commons research.
Women lead at BFA HSBC British Franchise Awards 
The British Franchise Association (BFA) has seen many of its members become very successful brands, with many successful women franchisees. This was highlighted at the end of last year when over half of the awards at the BFA’s HSBC British Franchise Awards was won by women. The awards process uncovered a wealth of women business owners and leaders proving that franchising remains a vibrant, diverse and resilient sector full of opportunity. On the night, the overwhelming sense of women empowerment was evident, especially in the franchisee categories, and I sense this will continue to build in 2023.
Celebrating women in franchising
As a result of such a successful year for women in franchising, in 2023 The BFA will be running three diversity, equity and inclusion campaigns and one will be focused solely on ‘ladies leading the way’. The campaign, which is sponsored by McDonald’s, is all about raising awareness about the ongoing struggle for gender equality and the need for women's empowerment through sharing BFA members’ stories and experiences. 

The ‘ladies leading the way’ campaign was in conjunction with International Women’s Day and the response from our members was tremendous: I guess there are a lot of inspirational women out there.
Match made in heaven
Our ladies leading the way campaign has not been the only initiative we have done in recent years to highlight the great work women do. A couple of years ago, The BFA launched a collaboration within the franchising sector with not-for-profit organisation, Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWIB). The two organisations forces to increase  awareness and education of franchising as a great choice for females looking to get into business. 

The advantage of franchising is that it’s a way into business that offers access to a proven system with an established brand. There is also the added advantage of being ‘in business for yourself, not by yourself’ because you have the back-up and support from the franchisor, not just at the start, but through the whole term of the franchise relationship.
What makes franchising a particularly good fit for women?
I believe what makes franchising a good fit for women, is similar to what makes it good for anyone. It is the comfort of having a proven business model, proper support structures and a known brand you can be a part of. More and more women are finding a home in the franchising world and with more promotion of the great benefits franchising brings it will grow further; this will be more evident then ever in 2023. 

The number of women in franchising has been steadily rising over the past few decades. A study conducted by Karren Brady highlighted that in the workplace women tend to be more organised than men and are better at meeting deadlines. Those skills and personality traits along with an eye for detail and the capacity to prioritise well are a perfect match for franchising.

Written by Pip Wilkins

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