This week I had the pleasure of attending two events in London organised by EWIF (Encouraging Women into Franchising) – a UK based not-for-profit organisation with the primary focus of supporting women who are looking for a route into the franchise industry, whether they be franchisors or franchisees.
In the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of women business owners generally – in the USA more than 11.6 million firms are owned by women, and female-owned businesses now account for 39% of all privately held firms. (Statistics from the American Express OPEN Report “The State of Women-Owned Businesses 2017”).
And franchise experts report a rising trend in women entering the world of franchising. In the UK women now account for nearly 25% of franchisees and the International Franchise Association is seeing a similar shift. Women owned 27 percent of franchise locations in 2017, it says, compared with 20.5 percent in 2007 – and that doesn’t include another 17% of the population where men and women operate franchises together as partners. Between 2011 and 2017, female franchise ownership jumped by 83 percent, while male ownership only increased 13 percent, according to FranNet, the US based franchise consultancy.
So what is it about the world of franchising that holds such an appeal to a skyrocketing number of female business owners?
One common held belief is that many women are attracted to franchise opportunities in part due to skill sets and personality traits. Female business owners tend often to be more financially cautious and therefore the lesser element of financial risk often associated with buying into a franchise of an already well established brand may have significant appeal over starting up a business from scratch.
Women generally have strong communication skills, are good networkers and take a collaborative approach to working. These are traits which not only make them excellent franchisees with the key skills to engage their target market and grow their businesses, but which also mean that women are likely to be drawn to the idea of joining an established franchise network and working as part of a team, being in business for themselves but not by themselves.