Five hundred jobs are expected to be supported by Europe's first third-level centre of excellence for franchise development, in Limerick.
The National Franchise Centre, which is modelled on the existing LEAP (Limerick Enterprise Acceleration Programme) run at LIT’s Enterprise Acceleration Centre (EAC), will offer tailored six-month training programmes to anyone interested in taking up on franchise opportunities in Ireland and abroad.
€1m has been secured from the European Globalisation Fund (EGF) to cater for up to 100 former Dell employees in the first programme, starting in January, but the programme is not confined to former Dell employees.
The training will cover all aspects of running/owning or managing a successful business with a particular focus on franchises.
This initiative is launching 20 small to medium businesses (SMEs) this afternoon and hopes to have supported 150 businesses employing 500 people within five years.
The purpose of the NFC is encouraging entrepreneurship among unemployed people who otherwise would not dare to start up businesses on their own.
It is hoped that the initiative can be replicated around the country.
According to the Limerick Chamber group, 80% of start-up companies fail in the first five years whereas 80% of franchises succeed in the same time period.
The FAST programme validates the skills of trainees for their desired franchise and also provides access to seed capital and finance for the franchise.
The second FAST programme at the National Franchise Centre is open for applications.