Editor's note: The following information is part of a countdown recap from the inaugural Top 100 Movers and Shakers publication. It was published in the spring of 2012. Some of the information may now be different.
The economic downturn of the past few years made it difficult for prospective franchisees to obtain financing and existing operators to secure the money they needed to expand or upgrade stores. In response, a number of companies developed their own financing options. In 2009, for example, Marco's Pizza launched a private equity fund that can invest $50,000 to $100,000 per store. This year, CiCi's announced new investment and financing programs to help existing and prospective franchisees with funding options, part of its plan to add 500 restaurants by 2020.
Traditional sources of funding are also on the rebound, according to a monthly Franchise Lending Index compiled by the International Franchise Association (IFA) and BoeFly, an online marketplace connecting small business borrowers with lenders. According to the Index, franchise lending grew 10.6 percent between February 2011 and February 2012. Still, the industry continues to face a shortfall in lending that has limited growth and job creation, according to the IFA.
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