A YOUNG entrepreneur who won the backing of Duncan Bannatyne on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, is to franchise his industrial cleaning business.

UK Commercial Cleaning Services (UKCC), which founder Tony Earnshaw grew from a window cleaning round in Washington, Wearside, to a £1.5m turnover business, is to be franchised across the UK.

UKCC, which Mr Earnshaw established in 2004 with £300, when he was 19, is making the move in order to increase its workforce and prepare for large national contracts that are in the pipeline.

Mr Earnshaw operates from depots in Leeds and Washington, and is using franchising as a way to expand the business, with ambitions to deliver services to Scotland, Wales, the South of England, and Ireland.

North-East based entrepreneur Mr Bannatyne, who backed the company with a £100,000 investment in the last series of Dragons’ Den, has backed the move, saying: “Franchising is an excellent option for anyone looking to expand their business.”

Mr Earnshaw said: “This is a massive step for us as it allows us to not only expand nationally but to service large contracts which are in the pipeline for this year.

“This opportunity is fantastic for anyone looking to start their own business, as it removes the risk of them starting from scratch because they have the advantage of our brand, materials, and current workload.”

Mr Earnshaw is working with franchise experts to firm-up plans for the venture, which is due to launch next month. Estimates suggest that it would cost an individual around £30,000 to take on a franchise.

Franchisees will be given machinery, a branded vehicle, a depot, and key contacts in which to generate business.

They will also be given work from national contracts which have been secured by UKCC.

Anyone interested in starting a franchise can call Mr Earnshaw on 0191-415-5610