By Scott Lehr, CFE, Senior Vice President, U.S. & International Development, International Franchise Association
IFA, Franchise Times and the US Commercial Service hit the 2nd stop on the trade mission in Dubai, UAE after successful visits in Abu Dhabi the day before.
The group which included Robert Shaw from Greenberry’s Coffee, Brad Siniscalchi and Matt Ladd of Hertz Equipment Rental, Marc Mushkin of Pollo Tropical, Rogelio Martinez of Tutor Doctor, KL Fredericks of the US Commercial Service, Nancy Weingartner of Franchise Times and Scott Lehr with IFA began the day with a briefing at the U.S. Consulate in Dubai. Robert Bannerman and Ashok Ghosh updated the group on the economy and the opportunities available for franchisors in the market. The group discussed Dubai’s achievement of becoming the 2nd busiest airport in the world and the opportunities that provides for the city on the world’s stage.
The exposure of U.S. Brands at the first rate malls such as the Dubai Mall complete with an Ice Skating Ring and Emirates Mall with its own indoor Ski Area allow these smart franchisors and their franchisees to reach millions of potential customers that extends their brand presence deep into the Middle East and Africa because of all the traffic flowing through Dubai today. Their “Free Zones” are allowing companies to set up regional offices in Dubai to serve customers throughout Africa. Mr. Bannerman stated that there are more flights to India from Dubai then from within India itself. He also reported that U.S. exports more to UAE than to India.
The group then headed off to another full day of one-on-one visits, this time visiting the candidates at their offices in the Dubai area. The Franchise Executives reported solid interest from the prospects. That evening the trade mission participants met up at the Ritz Carlton in Dubai for a reception sponsored by the American Business Council of Dubai and Northern Emirates. The group mixed with local business people and many American expats working for U.S. companies in Dubai.
Franchising is becoming big business in a smaller world. Robert Moschorak, president and general manager of Ace International Holdings which is the international division of IFA Member, Ace Hardware, was in town meeting with the local franchisees in Dubai and reported that business for ACE in the UAE is experiencing tremendous growth!
Day two and three of the mission in Dubai brought the group to meet with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce led by Mr. Atiq Juma Faraj Nasib, senior director of the Commercial Services Sector to discuss “Doing Business in Dubai”. The Chamber is excited about working with the IFA and its member companies to grow the franchise market in Dubai. The message was delivered loud and clear – Dubai is the perfect hub for activity and commerce in the Middle East and Africa for Franchise Brands.
The trade mission participants were than off to Dubai Airport for their flight to Cairo and the beginning of the 3rd leg of the mission in Egypt!