An entrepreneur from Newport will reveal how she turned a small business running baby and toddler play groups into a successful company with more than 40 franchisees when she appears at this month’s Ready Steady Grow – What Franchising Could Do For Your Business workshop in Cardiff.

Helen Gillies, founder of Tots Play, will be one of the speakers at the event being hosted by NatWest and Darwin Gray Solicitors at the bank’s Entrepreneur Accelerator in One Central Square on June 20.

She will share her story of launching Tots Play in 2009 and the insights of franchising her business and managing multiple franchisees just ten years later.

Helen said: “What I love about being a franchisor is the opportunity to not only see your business idea grow and reach new people, but to also play a part in your franchisees growing and developing as business owners and reaching their own goals. I’m really looking forward therefore to talking about my own journey with Tots Play and hoping that others feel inspired to take that first step.”

The Welsh franchise sector is a growing market currently worth more than £500m, yet many businesses do not know how to take advantage of the opportunities it presents, particularly when it comes to developing their own businesses as a franchise.

The event aims to empower these businesses and those looking to start a franchise with a series of talks and Q&As from sector specialists Darwin Gray Solicitors, and Peter Howe, NatWest’s regional lead for franchise, who will outline the finance options and support available to both franchisors and franchisees.

Peter Howe said: “The number of franchise businesses in the UK has grown by more than 10 per cent since 2015 to more than 48,000 businesses.

"This event is an important opportunity for those who have thought about franchising their business or launching a franchise to learn about the facts and opportunities and support available.”

For more details about this free event go to