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Franchising Expo set to impress

The annual International Franchise Expo (IFE), hosted by the Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA), happens today and tomorrow at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg. Franchising, despite the recession that started in 2009, continues to make a great contributor to South Africa’s economic growth and stability.

This, according to FASA’s executive director, Vera Valasis, is further proof of the resilience of the franchise business format to withstand adverse trading conditions. “When jobs are secure, it is human nature for people to become complacent and less entrepreneurial. It has been proved through many recessions globally that during hard times, franchising sees its most significant growth and those franchisees who take the leap of entrepreneurial faith go on to become highly successful.”

IFE is a dedicated franchise and business opportunity exhibition, which delivers quality visitors who come from far and wide to see the range of business and franchise opportunities on show.

According to Nishi Naicker, marketing manager of FASA, it is a fact that some of the greatest companies and franchises have been started and built during the worst of economic times. “If businesses want to be at the forefront of the economic recovery, they need to be exhibiting at IFE. From our pre-show marketing, we have had a great response from the buying public who are ready to take that step into self-employment and are looking for the ideal business to invest in.”

Economists agree that if the government is to achieve its target of 5 million jobs by 2020 about 495000 new businesses will have to have been created by then.

Franchising had proved that it could fulfil all the criteria for small business expansion and FASA had already initiated a transformation project that would encourage entrepreneurship within the emerging sector.

Franchising recently showed an 11% increase in employment levels, according to the authoritative survey, The Franchise Factor 2010, conducted by Franchize Directions. Valasis said that the sector had shown great resilience for the two years ending on February 28 2010, with 28221 jobs being created. The sector contributed 11.8% to GDP.

Complained Rasheed Kathrada, chairman of FASA, “Franchising in South Africa is under-utilised and is not given enough credit for the role it plays in the economy and in stimulating entrepreneurship. FASA would like to see government give more support to the positive role that franchising can play in stimulating the small business sector. We also appeal to big business to look at the potential of using the franchise format as an expansion mechanism.”

Considering that franchising in South Africa was made up of 88% home-grown concepts, said Kathrada, “this important business sector should not be ignored by the government”.

Exhibitors at the Expo include companies such as Cash Crusaders, Lumber City, Minuteman Press, Oasis Water, Old Fashioned Fish & Chips, Planet Fitness, Rawson Properties, Subway, Sign-a-Rama, The Courier Guy, The Firm Slimming & Health, Yale Security and Simply Asia.