Brands can expand to Asean

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Thursday, June 12, 2014


AS THE full integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) comes near, a key official advised local franchisors to prepare for the possible expansion to the neighboring countries.

In an interview with Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship- Go Negosyo executive director Ramon Lopez yesterday, the official projected that more local brands will be establishing their presence in Asean-member countries in the same way that more global brands have started to penetrate the Philippine market.

“Be ready to supply other Asean countries,” addressed Lopez to franchisors.

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‘Level up’

To do this, the official advised local players to become competitive by adopting global standards in their business operations even before they set foot in other countries.

“You have to find a way to level up. You have to look foreign, (you have to present) a more competitive environment (to your customers),” Lopez said.

To date, the franchising industry in the country has continuously exhibited a positive performance.

According to the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) chair for MSME promotion and development Richard V. Sanz, 40 to 45 percent of the total retail sales in the country for this year is attributed to the franchising industry, a huge improvement from the rate of five percent in the mid-1990s.

Filipino brands like Jollibee, Potato Corner, fashion retailers Suyen Corp., which owns the Bench brand, and Golden ABC’s Penshoppe are some that have already gone global.

On the other hand, around 500 international brands have already entered the Philippines through Filipino franchisees, said PFA project manager Jake Santos.

Flexible

In the previous years, franchising has been limited to huge corporations where a big amount of capital is needed before one can participate. But now, Sanz said, the opportunities to franchise have been more flexible and more open to interested franchisees.

Franchising under a PFA-member company starts at P200,000.

Yesterday, the PFA officially opened its three-day franchise expo at the Ayala Center Cebu Activity Center. The event is part of PFA’s franchise roadshow series designed “to encourage Filipinos to take the part of entrepreneurship via franchising and contribute to the nation’s aspiration of inclusive growth.” The event is also part of the Cebu Business Month’s lineup of activities.

Despite of the opportunities present in franchising, Sanz noted that only a few from Cebu have entered the field. Of the over 200 members of PFA, only 10 percent are from Cebu.

Seminars

Lopez, meanwhile, said the interest from the locals in franchising is high, which will potentially increase the number of players in the industry.

With the PFA expo and other seminars on the line, Sanz hopes that the number would increase.

“PFA urges business owners, aspiring and established entrepreneurs, overseas Filipino professionals, medical practitioners, retirees, veterans, and members of the academe to take advantage of these opportunities,” said PFA in a statement.

Until Saturday, PFA will hold a seminar on “How to Invest in the Right Franchise” from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ayala Cebu Activity Center.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 13, 2014.

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