The annual Irish Franchise Association EXPO is to be held at Croke Park, Dublin on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 February 2011. The exhibition, which is supported by Ulster Bank, is one of the leading franchise exhibitions in Irelands and is the only one fully endorsed by the Irish Franchise Association.

The purpose of the Irish Franchise Association is to provide a platform for franchisors to showcase their business opportunity to potential franchise owners. As well as this the exhibition aims promote the franchising sector in Ireland.

In addition to the exhibition, talking place on Friday 25 February at the Hospitality Suite at Croke Park will be the annual Irish Franchise Awards ceremony. The Awards ceremony is a black-tie event that recognises excellence in franchising and rewards outstanding achievements of businesses and individuals in the franchise industry.

David Killeen, Chairman of the Irish Franchise Association, said: “As with last year’s exhibition, this Expo is being run purely on a not for profit basis and any surplus funds generated will be reinvested back into the franchise sector to assist our voluntary body deliver on our mission of ‘promoting and developing best practice franchising in Ireland and creating an environment within which franchising can grow’. We strongly appeal to all active franchisors to get firmly behind this initiative and give it their full support. We welcome our continued partnership with Ulster Bank who regularly demonstrate their commitment to the SME sector and in particular the franchise sector through supporting initiatives such as the Franchise Exhibition and Awards.”

Orna Stokes, Senior Manger, Strategic Operations, Ulster Bank, added: “The importance of providing support to businesses in the current environment cannot be underestimated. It is our job at Ulster Bank to provide solid advice, appropriate financial support and a robust service to franchises and indeed to all our business customers. We are delighted to continue our relationship with the Irish Franchise Association. The Expo and Awards provide us with a great opportunity to highlight our support in the start-up and franchising sector and also to recognise and reward outstanding entrepreneurs.”