The Philippines Takes Center Stage with Franchise Asia 2014 and U.S. Franchise Trade Mission


Franchise Asia

A panel including William Edwards, Edwards Global Services CEO and IFA Director of International Affairs Josh Merin take turns speaking to the general session of Franchise Asia about international growth.


Mission participants enjoy a VIP tour of Franchise Asia’s Expo.

The Philippines became an increasing center of the franchising world’s attention when it hosted one of the franchising’s biggest events in Southeast Asia, Franchise Asia 2014 and a U.S. franchise trade mission. The show was originally scheduled to take place July 16-20 at the SMX Convention Center in Manila, Philippines but took place July 17-20 because of the typhoon that hit the Philippines on the 16th.  Recognized as the biggest franchise show in the Philippines each year, Franchise Asia continued not to disappoint, welcoming over 500 exhibitors, including IFA member and trade mission participant Tutor Doctor, and an estimated 50,000 attendees.

Due to the typhoon, the first day of Franchise Asia was cancelled. However, the Philippine Franchise Association’s staff worked diligently through the night to reconfigure the program. Their hard work paid off when Franchise Asia opened its doors on the morning of the 17th and soon saw its convention hall filled with hundreds of attendees from the Philippine franchise community. These attendees demonstrated the remarkable resilience of the Filipino people, by leaving their homes (many without power) and traveling through a city just hit by a typhoon to fill the hall.

The Filipino franchise market is highly mall focused due to weather and pollution. Jan Paul Custodio, Senior Director CB Richard Ellis Philippines told trade mission participants that the Philippines’ has 1/10th the real estate costs of Hong Kong or first-tier Chinese cities.  It also has the lowest mall real estate prices in Asia, 20 times lower than Beijing.  Market challenges include public infrastructure and high energy costs.  According to a US Embassy briefing, the number one drag on growth is corruption, especially outside of Manila.

Bill Edwards, Vice Chair of the IFA’s International Committee and CEO Edwards Global Services and IFA’s Josh Merin addressed the general session of Franchise Asia on July 17. In “Conquering the Global Market with Your Brand” they presented IFA and its experience with international franchising including strategy and tactics for franchising internationally.  The presentation included international development models, what to look for in an international licensee and considerations before going international.   The event included Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) classes and this year’s CFE graduation.

Trade Mission attendees were able to tour Franchise Asia on Saturday, July 19th.

Franchising Making Gains in Manila


Trade Mission participants line up to speak during a reception at the US Embassy in Manila.


The trade mission delegation and U.S. Embassy staff celebrate a successful event.

Ambassador Goldberg

From left, U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, IFA Director of International Affairs Josh Merin and Senior Commercial Officer Jim McCarthy address a high-level networking reception in the ballroom of the U.S. Embassy, Manila.

As typhoon Rammasan was making its way towards the Philippines, franchise executives from all over the world were headed to make waves in Southeast Asia as IFA, in partnership with Franchise Times and the U.S. Commercial Service, led a delegation to explore opportunities in the Philippine franchise market July 17-20. Mission participants braved delayed and rerouted flights while those who arrived early relied on the Ascott Makati hotel’s generators to get them through the storm.

As the storm calmed and the sun started to shine, the mission kicked off with a visit to the historic US Embassy in Manila. With the Philippines becoming increasingly a consumption-led and service-oriented economy, the franchise sector is a powerful tool for local development. The mission allowed 14 dynamic American franchise concepts to explore the expanding Philippine market. The goal is to investigate partnership opportunities with master franchisees and area developers in the Philippines. Companies such as Edible Arrangements, Jan-Pro, Panda Express, PJ’s Coffee, Russo’s NY Pizzeria, Tilted Kilt, Title Boxing Club, Tutor Doctor, World of Beer, and WOW Café are ready to meet one-on-one with potential candidate companies that can help them expand their product to the region.

There are deep historical and cultural ties between the Philippines and the US.  Currently, there are 4 million Filipinos living in the US and 400,000 US citizens living in the Philippines.  This drives Filipino familiarity with US brands as well as an appetite for them. US Embassy employee, Kelan Evans of the Foreign Agricultural Service, referred to the US as the Philippines’ #1 supplier and consumer of agricultural goods. Kristin Keedler from the Embassy’s’ Public Affairs Section stated that there is a very positive perception of Americans and US culture in the Philippines.

While US franchises takes the lead and are welcomed with open arms, the Filipino market is shifting. According to Samie Lim, Chairman Emeritus, Philippines Franchise Association, “US franchises once dominated the Philippines, but Asian franchises are now coming in very fast.  The Filipino franchise community has grown a great deal in sophistication.” GDP growth is second only to China in the region.  This growth is projected to continue for at least 5 years and looks sustainable. “President Aquino has been an economic reformer and while 40% of the population lives below the poverty line, things seem to be changing,” stated Joel Ehrendriech, Economic Counselor, US Embassy.   With a steadily growing economy, the Philippines’ is a prime franchise market with a growing sophistication of the business community and a desire for US brands. US Deputy Chief of Mission Brian Goldbeck said, “The market is poised, you are right to look at this market now.”

Mission participants spent the day of the 18th in matchmaking meetings with potential business partners arranged by the US Commercial Service.  Companies met with as many as 12 potential partners in one hour blocks over the course of the day.  The meetings were conducted in private rooms at the Ascott Makati hotel.

Afterwards, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg hosted the delegation and leaders from the Filipino business community for a well-received catered networking reception with live music. Attendees included the Philippines’ Secretary of Finance, Cesar Purisma and Chairman Emeritus of the Philippines Franchise Association and “Father of Philippine Franchising” Samie Lim.  Ambassador Goldberg, Senior Commercial Officer Jim McCarthy, and Josh Merin, IFA’s Director of International Affairs, made remarks during the event. Merin then introduced the mission participants who each made brief remarks. Reporters from 12 media outlets, including the two largest newspapers in the Philippines visited the hotel to cover the mission.

July’s Franchising World Digital Edition Coming, June Now Available

Your business reading during the summer can now include topics trending on diversity and inclusion, as well as international development, two important areas to consider for your thriving franchise business.

FW Header09 wShadowWatch for the July issue of IFA’s Franchising World magazine that’s coming soon. Articles are designed to help your business navigate those twists and turns that accompany international development. You’ll find guidance about international data available on franchising, trends involved in franchising in Latin America, investor visas, real estate considerations and managing the translation process.  This issue also updates readers on IFA’s enhanced international program and its increased World Franchise Council engagement.

This issue also includes photo coverage of the Legal Symposium, conducted for the first time in Chicago, where it attracted more than 500 participants, as well as articles that outline the latest on franchise relations, social media and IFA’s veterans outreach program VetFran.

And while you’re waiting for the July magazine, review the June issue of Franchising World magazine that focuses on diversity in franchising that presents best practices and resources. Learn why being a diversity-focused business is no longer an option from IFA Educational Foundation Diversity Institute Chairman Carlton Curtis, Coca-Cola Foodservice vice president of industry affairs. Other industry leaders elaborate on women franchise owners and what the current economic climate means for diversity programs.

Also available, which first appeared on FranSocial’s Franchise Relations Dialogue site, is an article that has generated nearly 400 downloads: “A New Era in Franchising Continues to Emerge: Should a More Balanced Franchise Agreement Play a Role?” Authors are Aziz Hashim, NRD Holdings, LLC president and CEO and IFA treasurer; and Brian B. Schnell, CFE, a Faegre Baker Daniels LLP partner.

Check out other June magazine categories such as research, trends, multi-unit franchising and lead generation, among others.

FranSocialLogo_finalReach out to authors with your questions and comments at FranSocial.


IFA Social Sector Task Force to Launch Mentor Network


The Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association established the Social Sector Task Force to explore leveraging the methods used in commercial franchising to benefit organizations serving the most vulnerable people in the world.

Social sector franchising is the application of commercial franchising concepts to achieve socially beneficial ends. Social sector franchising has been used in areas of health and other product and service distribution and has created opportunities for local entrepreneurs to deliver a variety of products and services in underserved communities worldwide.

The IFA Social Sector Task Force believes that IFA members can provide meaningful and needed advisory assistance to the devoted efforts of social sector franchisors and franchisees to expand their reach and enhance the quality of their services. Though these social franchise systems often operate in uniquely challenging circumstances, the goal of creating franchise organizations that can consistently provide consumers a sustainable level of quality products and services is a common goal every franchisor shares. Coupled with the principles of franchising management, your support and talent can provide to social franchisors and franchisees life changing and often life-saving impact.

With this idea in mind, the IFA Social Sector Task Force is creating a mentor network. Social Sector Task Force Mentors will share their knowledge of and experience in franchising with social sector franchisor management and franchisees.

The Social Sector Task Force invites you to apply to become a mentor. Task Force Chair and Managing Director of MSA Worldwide, Michael Seid expressed “Applying the power of franchising to creating solutions and delivering quality products and services to the poor worldwide is a journey that is long overdue. I and the other members of the IFA Social Sector Task Force are excited to make it with you.”

To learn more, visit the Social Sector Task Force’s new site To apply to become a mentor, please click here.

International Committee Chair and Board Member Represent IFA at UAE Franchise Conference

International Committee Chair and Past IFA Chair Mike Isakson and current IFA Board Member Tabbassum Mumtaz, President and CEO, Apex Restaurants Management, Inc. represented IFA at the inaugural ““The International Franchise Conference” November 6th and 7th in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Organized by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI), the conference sought to raise awareness of franchising among Emirati firms, introduce the latest worldwide franchising standards and offer a range of franchise opportunities to assist in the development of the UAE economy.

His Excellency Mohammed Helal Al Muhairi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Chamber expressed “Franchising is one of the most prominent systems, practices and mechanisms of a successful global economy in expanding businesses to new economic zones and diverse economic fields, which franchising achieves from transferring techniques, practices and capabilities in management, marketing and expertise across the globe.”

Chairman Isakson made presentations to the conference on the role of franchising in global business development and types of franchising.  Tabbassum Mumtaz joined Isakson’s lecture on the role of franchising to share his experience as a successful franchisee.  During the conference, Mike Isakson signed an MOU expressing IFA’s support of ADCCI’s efforts to develop and promote franchising in the UAE.  Isakson and Mumtaz also had private meetings with Mohammed Helal Al Muhairi and members of the ADCCI Board.

Isakson Abu Dhabi

From Left to Right: Khalfan El Kaabi, Board Member of ADCCI, Mike Isakson,   Mohammed H. Al Muhairi, Director General of ADCCI, H.E. Michael Corbin, U.S. Ambassador and John Simmons, Regional Senior Commercial Officer for the Gulf

Mumtaz Isakson

From Left to Right: John Simmons, Regional Senior Commercial Officer for the Gulf, Mohammed A. J. Al Sayegh, CEO of Automotive Engineering & Board Member of ADCCI, H.E. Michael Corbin, U.S. Ambassador, Mike Isakson, Khalfan El Kaabi, ADCCI Board Member, Tabbassum Mumtaz


Mike Isakson signing the MOU with Mohammed Al Muhairi, Director General of ADCCI. At the back, from left to right: Manal El Masry, Commercial Specialist, Amal A. Moaty, ADCCI, Fred Aziz, Commercial Officer, Dr. Abdul Rehim Al Rayah, ADCCI, Salma El Mansoori, ADCCI, Dr. John Hayes, Mohamed El Ansari, ADCCI, Chantal Zimmer, France Franchise Federation and Dr. Hatem Zaki, Egyptian Franchise Development Association