The Franchisee Association says current economic conditions should not put people off consi-dering taking out a licence.

Trevor Hart, who set up the online Franchisee Association in August, told British Baker that now would be a good time for someone who has lost their job to use their redundancy package to become a franchisee. "They might feel more confident joining a proven, established business, rather than setting out on their own," he said.

The Franchisee Association has picked up more than 300 members in the past two months and although recently there has been a downturn in the number of people taking out a licence, Hart says the number of visitors to the website seeking advice has increased. "They are looking for support during this difficult time," he said.

It is free to join the Franchisee Association and membership gives access to business advice and support in the day-to-day running of franchised operations. Members are also given the opportunity to search for resale franchises or advertise their own franchise territory for sale.