DURBAN – In a first for KwaZulu-Natal, Ithala is hosting the Franchise Association of South Africa’s (FASA) flagship event, the 21st International Franchise and Entrepreneur Expo.
“Ithala approached FASA as part of its efforts to grow its Franchise Fund portfolio and provide SMME’s and co-operatives in KZN with opportunities to enter the franchising industry, not only as franchisees but also a means to convert their businesses into franchises,” said Pearl Bengu, Group Chief Executive Ithala Development Finance Corporation.
“The exhibition focuses on entrepreneurship. In line with Ithala’s economic growth and job creation mandate we aim to bring investment into KZN and match this with people keen to run their own businesses and have an opportunity for a better life,” she said.
“After holding franchise exhibitions in Johannesburg for the past 20 years, FASA is proud to be expanding its footprint into the provinces – affording prospective franchisees the opportunity to meet representatives from franchise brands face-to-face and find out more about the opportunities offered by the franchise sector,” said Ms.Vera Valasis, FASA Executive Director.
The Expo, to be held at the Durban Exhibition Centre on March 8 and 9, will bring together franchisors, potential franchise buyers, potential franchise suppliers and businesses looking to franchise and find business opportunities. With some 40 home-grown brands spread across a broad spectrum of sectors from the automotive industry to beauty, IT, technology, baking and tourism exhibiting as well as regular talks by experts there will be plenty for the thousands of visitors which are expected over the two days.
Throughout the two days, experts in franchising and related fields will provide free talks on matters crucial to buying and owning a franchise. Topics include how to evaluate a franchise business; what is the best way to fund a franchise and how to turn your business into a franchise.
Bengu said that as a development finance institution, Ithala’s primary focus is the development and empowerment of previously disadvantaged individuals through its tailor-made funding solutions, promoting entrepreneurship and stimulating job creation in KwaZulu-Natal.
Therefore the focus of this EXPO is on brands wanting to expand into the province and which are financially accessible to new franchisees. “What you won’t find at this exhibition is the large well-established franchise brands that are already prevalent throughout the country,” she said.
Ithala is also aiming to match entrepreneurs in the Radical Agricultural Sector Economic Transformation programme with franchises to supply these with products or produce.
“Franchising offers aspiring business owners a standardized proven business practice with access to certain centralized services such as supply chain, marketing, training, financial support as well as the value of the trade-name or trademark.
“This form of business has a proven track record, mitigating many risks associated with starting a new business. It is also favoured by funders as most of the business and financial risks are minimized provided the entrepreneur adheres to the stipulated business practice standards.
“Franchising is a great way to get the much-needed experience of entrepreneurship, especially the youth who have challenges in accessing businesses or funding opportunities. It is a way of being in business for yourself but not by yourself,” said Ms Bengu.
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