EUROPE’S first third-level centre for franchise development is to be established at the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT).
The National Franchise Centre will offer specifically tailored training programmes to persons interested in taking up franchise opportunities in Ireland and abroad.
The centre, which will initially support 10 jobs, has secured up to €1 million in funding from the European Globalisation Fund to cater for up to 100 former Dell employees in the first programme in January.
However, the programme will not be exclusive to former Dell employees and expects to offer up to 100 places in two annual programmes, starting in January and July each year.
The Franchise Acceleration Start-up Training (FAST) programme due to run at the centre will provide business training on all aspects of running or managing a successful business with a particular focus on franchises.
LIT president Dr Maria Hinfelaar described the establishment of the National Franchise Centre as a huge opportunity for people to gain experience in managing a franchise.
“We are extremely excited about the prospects for the National Franchise Centre.
Typically, a franchise will employ, on average, eight people so with the level franchise opportunities there is real job creation potential here as well.
“There is a significant investment in time and money in franchises and many people are unprepared for this and the centre will reduce the risk significantly. We expect the programme to have a very high success rate and we see great potential for this to be a franchise learning hub not just for Ireland but for Europe.”
Limerick Chamber of Commerce president Kieran MacSweeney said they were delighted to support the centre.
“Franchises represent real opportunity, not least in the current climate with many people recently made redundant looking for a fresh start. The reality is that 80% of franchise companies succeed in the first five years whereas 80% of high potential start-up companies fail in the first five years,” Mr MacSweeney.
“The choice of franchise opportunities is endless and not just based on retail options.”
The National Franchise Centre FAST programme will open for applications for the programme in November.
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