Young entrepreneurs encouraged by franchise model - Franchise sector offers increasing business opportunities for new start-up companies

Published June 15th, 2008 - 08:58 GMT

More and more young businessmen and women are starting up their own companies in the Middle East by taking on a franchise operation; this was the findings of the fifth edition of the Franchising Middle East (FME) exhibition, which took place at the end of May.

Franchising has witnessed a 20% increase in the Middle East in the last five years, with local and international brands looking for greater market penetration.

“The franchise model offers unique opportunities to young entrepreneurs looking to establish a business in the Middle East. The UAE Government is taking all steps to encourage young UAE nationals to start and manage a business on their own, thereby playing a major role in the economic development of the country,” said Abdul Rehman Falaknaz, President of International Expo Consults (IEC), organisers of FME.

FME has identified home-grown talents now looking to export their brands through international franchise agreements.

Heritage for Henna is one such success story. Started in one small khaimeh in Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, in 2002 the business has since expanded to some 28 henna majlis throughout the UAE. Heritage for Henna is the business brainchild of Fatiya Ahmed, who was sponsored by the Dubai-based Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders. Ahmed has promoted her business for five consecutive years at the FME show, which has proved instrumental in the expansion of her brand.

Falaknaz says that organisation such as Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders are providing guidance for young entrepreneurs, encouraging them to think about how to become successful business people. The Establishment assists young entrepreneurs with funding as well as vetting their business plans.

Each year, the FME show brings at least 60 new companies to the market place.

“2008 has been the best year for us, so far. For us, every year is a challenge. As organisers, we have to go around and look for more companies that are looking to go in for a franchising model. Each year, a minimum of 60-65 companies participate in the FME exhibition, which means, we are bringing in more products and services, as well as new ideas, into this region. Through the exhibition, new investment opportunities through franchising are being explored by SMEs and entrepreneurs alike,” Falaknaz said.

Food & Beverage is currently the biggest area of growth for franchise operators. This is followed by the Hospitality sector, which involves very expensive capital investment; then Consumer & Retail Services, and Logistics.

Other big announcements to come out of FME included BinHendi Enterprises declaring that it is taking its Japengo Café brand global and aims to open an international network of outlets through franchise operators.

BinHendi Enterprises also plans on franchising its other dining concepts, Duck King, Inferno Grill, Bella Donna, China Times, and Mini Chinese, over the next few years.

Franchising Middle East is the largest international franchise exhibition in the Middle East and is supported by the IFA (International Franchise Association).

Franchising Middle East is organised by International Expo Consultants (IEC), an internationally recognised trade show management company with an impressive track record of over a decade of operations in the Middle East and Asia Pacific region.

IEC excels at creating high profile, highly focused business exhibitions and expositions, which serve as effective business interfaces for buyers and suppliers from around the world. For more information, visit



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