Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) and Limerick Chamber of Commerce have launched the National Franchise Centre (NFC), which is creating 20 new SMEs and expects to create up to 150 start-ups and 500 jobs over the next five years.
The first 20 franchisees which undertook the six-month Franchise Acceleration Start-up Training (FAST) programme in Franchising and Retail Management at the centre have graduated and nine of these are starting their own franchise business straight away.
The remaining 11 will have their franchise operations established within three months. Total employment created by the first graduates of the programme is expected to reach 50 jobs over the next three years.
Some 11 of the initial 20 franchisees are former Dell employees who were made redundant in 2009 and secured funding for undertaking the NFC programme through the European Globalisation Fund (EGF).
Business and education partnership
“The National Franchise Centre is testimony to what can be achieved with third-level education and business coming together,” said LIT president Dr Maria Hinfelaar.
“The NFC was born out of LIT and Limerick Chamber putting their minds together to come up with a response to the disproportionate level of unemployment experienced in this city and region.
“In these difficult times, it is essential that partnerships such as this between third-level education and the business sector are formed so that we can use our collective strengths to come up with innovations like the National Franchise Centre. The NFC is encouraging entrepreneurship among unemployed people who otherwise would not dare to start up businesses on their own. And the good news is that this success can also be replicated elsewhere in the country.”
Photo: National Franchise Centre launch