By Scott Lehr, CFE, Senior Vice President, U.S. & International Development, International Franchise Association
The International Franchise Association, Franchise Times and the U.S. Commercial Service kicked off the first leg of the U.S. Franchise Trade Mission to the Middle East last week in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The trade mission will include stops in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE; Cairo, Egypt; Amman, Jordan and Doha, Qatar over the next 11 days.
Trade mission participants include Greenberry’s Coffee Company represented by Robert Shaw; Hertz Equipment Rental represented by Brad Siniscalchi and Matt Ladd; Johnny Rockets represented by Steven Devine; Pollo Tropical represented by Marc Mushkin; Tutor Doctor represented by Rogelio Martinez and Wing Zone represented by Hair Parra. “We are pleased to be able to work with such quality franchise brands and connect them with potential candidates here in the Middle East” said Fredericks, director at the US Commercial Service. Editor with Franchise Times and the co-sponsor of the Trade Mission Nancy Weingartner is accompanying the group also and has responsibility for promoting the trade mission both before and after and produces the mission booklet which presents the franchise companies and is used as a marketing piece to leave with candidates at each stop.
U.S. Ambassador to UAE Mr. Corbin described the vibrancy of the economy of the UAE and strong outlook for continued business success for U.S. companies and in particular the interest and demand for U.S. Franchise Brands. The franchise executives then quickly took their seats to begin a long day of one on one meetings at the Chamber with master and regional franchise prospects from the greater Abu Dhabi area. For more than seven hours, the international franchise executives met with potential partners. Marc Mushkin of Pollo Tropical described the day as a full on “speed dating” marathon which is a very effective way to meet the right candidates for his brand.
Division Manager of Franchise Operations for Hertz Equipment Rental, Brad Siniscalchi and his colleague Matt Ladd, General Manager of Middle East & North Africa were also pleased with their first full day of appointments. “We met some excellent candidates today and will just have to work through the process with them to see how things develop” said Sinsicalchi.
IFA Senior Vice President, U.S. & International Development, Scott Lehr, KL Fredericks and Nancy Weingartner along with John Simmons, senior Commercial Officer and Manal El Mary, Commercial Specialist with the Abu Dhabi office of the U.S. Commercial Service met with Mohamed H. Al Muhairi of the Abu Dhabi Chamber and his team to discuss opportunities to increase the participation of U.S. Franchisors in franchising their businesses in UAE and in particular the greater Abu Dhabi area.
The full day wrapped up with an amazing sunset tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi which the trade mission participants all agreed capped off a successful start to the Middle East Trade Mission!