THE Philippine Franchisers Association (PFA) has embarked on a bid to make homegrown brands globally competitive, a pivotal move in view of the influx of foreign brands in view of the Association of Southeast Nations economic integration in 2015.
The PFA is also appealing to the government for support to strengthen small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the franchising industry.
“Because of the AEC [Asean Economic Community], a lot of foreign establishments are coming in with thousands of units all over the world, and our small mom-and-pop stores think they can compete; that’s not going to happen if we’re not globally competitive,” said Samie Lim, chairman emeritus of PFA and chairman of Blims Lifestyle Group Inc., at a news conference for the 2014 PFA’s Franchise Asia Philippines (FAPHL 2014).
The FAPHL 2014, a four-in-one franchise event to be held at the SMX Convention Center from July 16 to 20, will center specifically on this issue, wherein local franchising sector, mostly SMEs, can learn on branding, pricing and the best practices of the industry to become globally competitive.
“We hope the government can help us on this point, because the Filipino SMEs are a vanishing breed, especially with foreign interest in the Philippines growing,” Lim added.
He noted that franchising has been promoted for the past 20 years so that interested foreign brands can come in and tap master franchisors in the Philippines and share in the growth with the foreign investors.
According to Richard Sanz, FAPHL 2014 International Franchise Expo Committee chairman, the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country comprise 99.6 percent of all the businesses in the Philippines and provide for 61 percent of total employment.
Sanz added microenterprises take up as much as 30 percent of the MSME businesses.
Further, Lim said that the services sector accounts for 66 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), with the trade sector accounting 27 percent of the services contribution. In the trade sector, 79 percent is in franchising, thus making the retail and franchising sector the biggest contributor to the GDP in terms of services.
Sanz said that for the government, there are three areas wherein support can be directed: access to markets; training for branding and efficiency; and access to financing.
The FAPHL 2014, themed “Conquering an Integrated Asean,” is composed of the International Franchise Conference with several breakout sessions for different needs of franchisors and a plenary session with experts to talk on growth strategies and global marketing, and the International Franchise Expo, which will run from July 18 to 20, after the conference, which is scheduled on July 16 and 17.
The franchise expo component, said Sanz, will feature 500 booths, a 5-percent increase from the year before, and 287 local and foreign brands.
The highlight of the expo is the established brand expansion of the international pavilion, noted Sanz as participants in the international pavilion features booths from South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, United States and the United Kingdom.
Sixty international brands are coming to the International Expo, Lim added, looking to partner up with local franchisors.
Writtten by: Catherine N. Pillas