This month, multi-skill football franchise BabyBallers are welcoming seven new franchisees to their network. The new franchisees include Matt and Jo Bartlett who are launching in West Malling, Waqar Ishaq who is set to open in Solihull, two existing business partners who have invested in territories across Banbury and, finally, Richard and Nicola Thompson who are based in Northern Ireland. The seven new arrivals make it 13 franchisees to join BabyBallers since 2020, taking the UK network to a total of 20 franchisees and 60 clubs.
Nicola and Richard are BabyBallers’ first franchisees in Northern Ireland and are launching their new territory in Newtownards in September. After seeing the potential of BabyBallers, the duo decided now was the perfect time to combine their skills and open a new business they were both passionate about.
“When the pandemic hit, both Richard and I decided to take the time to reassess what we wanted to do with our lives,” explained Nicola. “After a lot of research, we decided that launching a BabyBallers franchise would be perfect for us. I think there’s a lot that can be done with BabyBallers here in Northern Ireland.
“One of the main reasons we invested in BabyBallers was because a lot of clubs don’t start until children reach the age of five. We recognised a gap in the market over here for clubs that accommodated children 16 months old to five years old, so BabyBallers was the perfect fit. The team at BabyBallers was great at helping answer all our questions and we had our first official training session earlier in July. This was fantastic because we got the chance to meet the team and the other franchisees just starting out.”
Moving forward, Nicola and Richard have ambitions to expand their BabyBallers network throughout Northern Ireland. “We would love to increase the number of clubs we have over here. Of course, it’ll all depend on how our first club goes, but we would like to open as many as possible in the long term. BabyBallers’ classes help kids learn through play but also act as a lifeline for those parents who have been isolated over the pandemic and are now looking to socialise with like-minded mums, dads and carers. We can’t wait to get started!”
BabyBallers Business Development Director, Chris Elms, was delighted to be welcoming the new franchisees. “It’s great to see BabyBallers taking on new franchisees despite a really tough economic climate. BabyBallers provide a positive and structured solution for parents to help their children develop skills and friendships – something that has been missing from their lives over the past 19 months. So, our franchisees have the opportunity to thrive and with over 1,000 children now on our waiting lists, this is a serious business opportunity for those passionate about encouraging child development in their communities,” he explained.