Speaking at IFA’s 51st Annual Convention to more than 2,700 franchise executives, small business owners and entrepreneurs, former Mass. Governor Mitt Romney addressed many of the challenges facing small businesses in the current economic and political environment, while citing franchise small businesses a critical engine for local job growth and economic recovery.
The theme of this year’s IFA Convention is “Building the Future Together,” and Romney, a likely 2012 Republican presidential candidate, spent much of his 40-minute speech addressing issues that hinder the ability for franchise businesses to grow and create jobs, such as the lack of permanent tax certainty, a health care law that does not cut costs on employers and overregulation by government agencies.
“Growing small businesses are what get us out of economic downturns,” said Romney. “Instead of creating policies in Washington that help small businesses grow, we have seen the most anti-business agenda in a lifetime.”
“Franchise businesses need more long-term certainty on tax policy and have urged lawmakers to start over and fix the health care law so it does not impose excessive costs on the backs of franchise businesses still struggling to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira in his state of the association address before Romney took the stage.
“Mitt Romney’s broad and proven experience in business, government and politics provided critical insight for IFA members seeking to position their franchise organizations for growth in a continually challenging financial climate,” said Caldeira. “We appreciated Governor Romney’s unique insights and perspective on the state of the American economy and global affairs.”
Responding to a question about generating additional opportunities for franchise businesses to gain access to credit, Romney sympathized with the industry. “The enemy of credit is uncertainty. You can’t grow an economy if people can’t get capital,” he said, echoing many of the concerns and messages the IFA has been telling lawmakers.
Romney thanked the IFA for having him to its Convention, the third largest in the event’s 51st year. He left his audience with a message he said he gleaned from IFA’s 2010 Hall of Fame Award Winner, Doc Cohen. “If you want to be a good franchisor, listen to the ideas of your franchisees like Doc,” he said.