By Rizal Raoul Reyes
Efforts to sustain the growth of the country’s Franchising sector continue to be the focus of the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) in its bid to further enhance economic inclusivity.
The PFA said that the country’s franchising industry is expecting a conservative 10-percent to 15-percent growth this year, and by 20 percent by 2020.
As such, Sam Christopher Lim, PFA chairman for Asean, said the organization aims to boost the local economy by promoting franchising as a vehicle for economic empowerment.
“The idea is to promote inclusive growth. This was the battle cry since two years ago,” he stressed in a recent interview.
And one good venue to achieve such is through the Franchise Asia 2018 to be held on July 18 at the SMX Convention Center.
Lim and the other PFA officials are busy preparing for this event that would serve as a platform to promote the country’s franchising—and the Asean region, as well—to the rest of the world.
The event will help facilitate international expansion of franchise brands and concepts in the region.
Under his initiative, Lim is leading the PFA’s shift in its digital marketing efforts. He started the NextGen in Franchising Program to search for young entrepreneurs who can be potential franchise leaders of the country.
“We want to encourage people 35 years old and below who have not been into the franchising business to join. We give them exposure and really get them exposed into franchising,” he said.
Moreover, the PFA has organized 14 different breakout sessions to allow participants to choose a topic that suits their interest. There will be various panel sessions that will highlight topics on franchising and entrepreneurship.
In the 2018 edition of Franchise Asia, Lim said they are veering away from the traditional setup of gathering people in one big room listening to a speaker. Instead, there will be more than 30 roundtable sessions to enable networking among the participants, and at the same time, learn from the delegates about specific topics.
Lim said the PFA is giving a 50-percent discount for provincial delegates to encourage broader participation.
To spice up the event, Lim said the PFA is organizing the “Great Debate” to determine whether social-media influencers or celebrity endorsers are more effective in building the brand. The audience will decide and track the change in the opinion room.
For the expos, Lim said, the PFA expects more than 700 brands to join the event with more than 52,000 visitors to attend the event. Lim also said the expo will conduct over 10 different seminar sessions for owners and investors.
Also, as the expo area will be larger, or double as that of last year’s, Lim said the food park will showcase new franchise brands from around the country.
For people interested to venture into franchising, the PFA will put up incubation booths to guide aspiring entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the PFA will put up regional pavilions for micro entrepreneurs across the Philippines to expose them to both local and international consumers and businesses.
“Our focus before is Metro Manila to promote inclusivity. Four years ago, 5 percent of the clients come out of Metro Manila. Now, it is 40 percent,” Lim said.
As an entrepreneur, Lim heads the U-Franchise Sales and Management, a company’s that helps find the right match for the franchisee. “Right now, there are 1,500 franchise brands in the Philippines. Imagine if someone wants to get into business choosing from 1,500 brands is difficult,” he explained.
U-Franchise has partnered with Singapore-based Astreem Consulting, Ltd to help them in their sales and marketing campaign.
Lim recalled that U-Franchise was not doing well when he came back from working overseas. “If we didn’t turn this around in six months, we’ll just shut down the business,” he said.
“No one was focusing on it yet. What we realized was that we lack a partner. What I did was to form a joint venture with a Singaporean company called Astreem Consulting whose expertise is sales,” he said.
“We managed to turn it around. The business has grown ten times since 10 years ago. Now, it is working very well, and partly because of partnerships and working with other people,” he added.
Lim said they offer potential franchisees matching services for free. “We also aim to help more Filipino brands get into the global market,” he pointed out.
“One of my frustrations when working abroad was that I never saw any Filipino brands. Romulo Cafe opened a branch in London. But you don’t see enough Filipino brands, and we know we have some of the best and the brightest brands here,” he added.
Lim, son of the father of Philippine franchising, Samie, also works as the chief marketing officer of Francorp, a 20-year old consulting company which helps businesses grow so they can be the next big thing in franchising.
“We have created an ecosystem of consulting services to assist any entrepreneur who needs help in franchising, branding, digital marketing so they can grow further not only locally but abroad as well,” he said.
Lim also partnered with millennials to form Zoom Lab Digital that serves the digital marketing needs of the MSMEs. It has now 15 clients in the Philippines as well as clients overseas.
Furthermore, Lim also formed AS Louken Sachi in 2015, a company that provides international brand consulting, strategic brand operations and Southeast Asia regional stewardship.
For Lim, his job in the PFA is not a walk in the park. Nevertheless, it gives him satisfaction. “Being in the PFA is demanding work, but it’s fun because you get to work with some of the best in the industry. It’s a true collaborative effort to grow the industry.”
This article is copied and originally published by Business Mirror on July 10, 2018 and is also available online at https://businessmirror.com.ph/lim-franchising-to-grow-10-to-15-this-year/