International Franchising

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Written by : Michel Gagnon

International Franchising

In a recent trip to Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, where we presented a series of seminars on franchising to local business people with the support of the regional Canadian Embassy Trade Commissioners, we were witnesses to a growing trend to start Franchise Systems from existing businesses and a strong interest to acquire the Master franchise rights from North American franchisors and in particular from Canada. 

Franchising has really taken a growing role in the World economy over the last 10 years, as more and more Countries have made modifications to their legislation to recognize issues such as intellectual property protection, trademark registrations, and other legal aspects important to franchisors. 

Many Countries in Western Europe are already quite heavily involved with Franchise Systems of their own, such as France, Germany, Italy to name a few, which have tens of thousands of franchisees from thousands of different Franchise Systems already in place. 

Countries like China and India are interested in attracting established Canadian, American and European franchisors in their Country with eager potential master franchisees interested in developing known and serious brands in their market. 

Australia is a well developed Franchise market and always looking to expand outside its borders. Already there are a few Australian concepts in Canada, with Canadian master franchisees! 

A Country like South Africa, which boasted over 430 franchisors and almost 24,000 franchisees in 2002, will be expanding shortly in North America, in particular, when 56% of these Systems were already operating outside of South Africa at the time. 

This opens up the door for Canadian Systems, who are welcome in mostly all Countries in the World, to seriously consider expanding outside of the Continent and into markets where the consumer is eager for new products and services delivered in a constant and recognizable format. 

Typically, Canadian franchisors will cover well their home markets: Ontario, Western and Eastern Canada and Quebec, and then will expand in the rest of Canada, typically leaving Quebec for last. When that is accomplished, they have covered a market potential of 30Million people spread over thousands of kilometres. There are markets in the World with that many people in a City! (A slight exaggeration, of course) 

It is time for Canadian franchisors to spread their wings on a global basis! 

For the Canadian franchise candidate, there will be a growing offer of new foreign franchise systems available to grow in Canada shortly. For the experienced and more mature candidate, these Franchisors will be looking for master franchisees that will be entrusted to build up the System in Canada, by granting individual franchises across the Country. For the candidate looking for the right and new franchise, opportunities are coming! 

For Canadian consumers, this will be interesting as well, as through these new franchises, they will be offered new and exciting new products and services. 

There are opportunities created every day. Canadians should embrace change and play a greater role in the international arena and Franchising is one of them!