An exciting new initiative is moving forward without much notice by the international franchising community. For those who have focused on it, its unique features have quickly made it top-of-mind.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the international development arm of the U.S. Government, has agreed to institute a financing program which has the potential to alter the financing of international franchise expansion. In partnership with the Middle East Investment Initiative, a non-profit organization which has pioneered the financing of small and medium-sized businesses in that region, it has agreed to guarantee loans to non-US businesses to enable them to –
- Acquire US franchises
- Operate them
- Produce goods and services to supply the franchises
- Establish businesses as franchisors
The project will begin in Tunisia, and will focus on the development of franchising as a method of doing business there.
Why Tunisia? Because when the Arab Spring began there, the US Department of State established a “partnership” with that country to raise the level of economic development.
Why franchising? Because when the State Department asked the Tunisians what they needed, they responded “Franchising”.
What does this mean for the prospects for franchising in such a country? It means that franchisors can enter the marketplace with a much greater sense of confidence, because their franchisees will to a large degree have the backing of the US Government – something we have never seen anywhere outside the United States.
What does it mean in other parts of the world? OPIC and MEII have made it clear that if this project develops as hoped, it will serve as a template for other countries.
You can expect to be hearing much more about this from –
- Future blogposts
- The MedTunis Expo, in Tunis, February 27 – March 1
- A program on the subject at the IFA Convention
- IFA International WebinarWednesday, January 23rd at 11 am ET
Please join Philip Zeidman, IFA’s General Counsel of DLA Piper, the Middle East Investment Initiative’s Jim Pickup, IFA International Vice Chairman Bill Edwards, and IFA’s Vice President, US and International Development, Scott Lehr to find out more about this international development opportunity.
In the meantime, for more information contact:
Josh Merin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
International Franchise Association
Philip F. Zeidman
DLA Piper LLP (US)