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Nov, 01 2008

Opportunities during slowdown

How can you set up your own business, without worrying about the business concept, marketing plans, product quality, branding and millions of other items that entrepreneurs lose sleep over? The answer is through franchising.

The Franchising and Licensing Association, Singapore and BizLink Premium Services launched the 2008 Franchising & Licensing Asia (FLAsia 2008) exhibition in Singapore, with much fanfare. Held from 16 -18 October 2008, the FLAsia 2008 exhibition is the largest in terms of area since its inception in 2006. With Singapore`s economy currently in technical recession, franchising offers another avenue for those looking for new business opportunities. It also creates new employment opportunities.

The FLAsia 2008 exhibition showcased some 200 top franchises, business concepts, brands and licenses of various industry sectors from more than 18 countries and regions, including Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK and the US. This year`s exhibition attracted about 10,000 attendees from Asia and beyond.

While the majority of franchising exhibitors fell into the usual franchising categories, such as Food & Beverage, Education and Health and Wellness, FLAsia 2008 also saw some unique business concepts, breaking the typical franchising mould. These include a pet shop franchise, a retail computer games franchise and a specialised foot care solutions franchise. The diversity of these new franchise concepts showcased in FLAsia 2008 is evidence of Asia`s growing and established franchising market and Singapore`s leading position in Asia as a regional franchise hub.

“Asia is an emerging market for both franchising and licensing. It is noted that in the next five years, the annual revenue for Asia`s franchise market is expected to grow to USD 100 billion per annum. Last year, Singapore`s 30,000 franchisees brought in nearly USD 3.8 billion in annual revenue. The growth of the franchising and licensing market is very encouraging, as its resulted increase in commercial activities will create favourable employment opportunities,” said Indranee Rajah, Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, who was the Guest of Honour at the FLAsia 2008 Opening ceremony.

A range of activities was organised, to boost exhibition visitors` understanding of the business concept. These included a circuit training exercise programme, a dog obedience show and talks on choosing the right franchise, getting your franchise to stand out from the competition and setting up a business with little start-up capital.

Another boost to the Singapore franchising industry was the graduation of 21 participants from the third intake of the Specialist Diploma in Franchise and Enterprise Management.

During the FLAsia 2008 Opening ceremony, the participants received their diplomas from Rajah, marking their graduation. This course is jointly organised by FLA Singapore and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and is run at the Polytechnic. The course teaches participants the basics of franchising, with the objective of encouraging them to enter the franchising industry. Most participants are already working as employees of franchising companies.

And the award goes to…

The Awards Night kickstarted with a welcome address by Douglas Foo, Chairman, Franchising & Licensing Association, Singapore. Nallakaruppan, who owns five Singapore-based 7-Eleven convenience stores, was named the inaugural Franchisee of the Year Award winner. V-KOOL International won the 2008 Franchisor of the Year Award, which rewards the most thriving franchising business in Singapore. Waraku International took home the 2008 Promising Franchisor of the Year Award, which recognises the most promising home-grown franchisor that has the most promise to succeed. And Inner Mongolia Little Sheep Catering Chain from China triumphed with the 2008 International Franchisor of the Year Award, which honours franchisors that have excelled in their own countries. The mega event concluded with a gala dinner at the Swissotel The Stamford.

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