EP#229 ~ The Franchise Code review - what does a review mean for small businesses in the sector?

| Tuesday April 16

Small Biz Matters: People, Policy, Purpose ~ Episode #229
Broadcast date: 16 April 2024
Host: Alexi Boyd, Small Business Advocate & Policy Advisor
Guest: Dr Michael Schaper, Board Chair, small business advocate and policy specialist

There is a sector of the small business community that is even more regulated than others but there is a good reason for that. Due to some bad actors in the sector in the past, Franchising has been under scrutiny and so has the Government and the way the Franchise code is managed.

It’s not just stock or a shop or a brand you’re buying, you’re entering a complex contract which is in fact a long term relationship. And like long-term relationships, things can sometimes turn sour. Franchisees can sometimes be the victim of poor contract terms, unfair, or inequitable relationships with the company they paid a lot of money to, for the privilege of using their brand and not get the relationship they paid for.

According to the Franchise Council of Australia, franchising is a $146bn sector and there are approximately 1,200+ different franchise systems, over 800,000 franchised businesses and the sector employs more than 500,000 people. Ans that’s a big chunk of the economy we need to get right.

In 2014, the government introduced The Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes-Franchising) Regulation 2014 (Franchising Code) regulates the conduct between participants in franchising which is regulated by the ACCC. The code was created to establish walls between the two parties to make the relationship more fair and equitable.

Today we welcome Michael Schaper, who’s going to tell us all about the 2024 franchise code review. He was one of Australia’s first small business commissioner’s, a previous deputy commissioner for the ACCC, named COSBOA’s small business champion in 2009, and a passionate advocate for small businesses around Australia.

PEOPLE –  You have been involved in small business policy, making and codesign for many years; tell us about your journey and why you’re so passionate about helping the sector. Can you tell us about the franchising community and what impact and benefit does it provides to the economy?

POLICY - Why does the franchisee code exist? And how does influence policy in other areas when government is making decisions about small business? How many reviews have their been and in the past, what has changed?

PURPOSE -  What were your key recommendations as part of the review, and which would be the most important to be implemented to help the sector?

Michael has substantial experience across the small business sector. He served as one of the country's first Small Business Commissioners (for the ACT), held the first designated professorial chair in small business at an Australian university, and was the inaugural Deputy Chair (small business) within the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. In 2009 he was named as the COSBOA national small business champion. More recently, he has worked on a number of SME projects for the United Nations, Asian Development Bank, and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Today he chairs a number of boards in Australia, and in 2023 was asked to review the Franchising Code of Conduct for the federal Small Business Minister.

To find out more go to: https://treasury.gov.au/publication/p2024-487230#:~:text=On%208%20February%202024%2C%20the,by%20its%20Terms%20of%20Reference