IFE the Place to Be for International Expansion in 2010

This year promises to be an ideal time for companies to expand their global presence and many of them will be in Washington, DC for the 19th annual International Franchise Expo

The 19th annual International Franchise Expo (IFE) will begin its three-day event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on April 9 with more than two dozen international delegations represented.

With some of the top franchisors in the industry confirmed to exhibit at IFE, international prospects searching for the right fit will have a multitude of companies to meet and explore. Tony Foley, International Director for United Franchise Group, an umbrella company consisting of five franchise brands, believes there are several contributing factors as to why IFE tends to draw a strong international audience.

"The IFE's reputation globally is by far the biggest component," says Tony. "However, their marketing efforts and the fact the United States is still considered the birth of franchising and, therefore, if one wishes to learn how to franchise, learn about exciting franchise opportunities, speak with franchise experts across a number of industries, the only real place to accomplish all of this is by attending the IFE.

"In addition, the IFE provides a solid value by presenting a very professional venue and environment for companies to showcase themselves. The educational components are excellent and add a much needed learning portion to the event."

United Franchise Group, which includes SIGNARAMA, EmbroidMe, Billboard Connection, FranchiseMart and Plan Ahead Events, already has a presence in 55 countries around the world and will focus its 2010 international growth on Eastern Europe, South America, Africa and Asia.

"The IFE has always been a beacon that attracts international enquires," says Tony. "I have attended the IFE for the last 19 years and have had great success selling domestic franchise opportunities as well awarding master development opportunities for a number of countries world wide.

"The IFE is far and away the most successful franchising event in the world. I attend annually franchise expos in a number of countries all over the globe and although for the most part these events are very good, they cannot compare to the IFE for overall value and professionalism."

Ted Looney, International Development Advisor at Jani-King, a commercial cleaning franchise company with more than 12,000 franchise owners worldwide, continues to see an increase in the number of international visitors at the International Franchise Expo.

"This is a great time for companies to either expand their international presence or to start," says Ted. "With the help of International Franchise Association-sponsored expos like IFE, Jani-King is planning to expand in parts of Europe as well as Japan, China and India among others.

"Through tradeshows and internet advertising we are able to get the word out to those who come to the shows as well as to those who cannot make the trip, but have interest," says Ted.

Realising the value of the International Franchise Expo, exhibitors tend to return year after year and even recommend the Expo to other franchise concepts.

Another contributing factor to the success of the International Franchise Expo is the extensive educational seminars and symposia, many offered at no cost to attendees.

"They are a great way for getting further educated in all aspects of franchising with the subjects timely, up to date and taught by leaders in the industry," says Ted. Many are founders and/or key personnel in operating entities."

For two decades, MFV Expositions and the International Franchise Association (IFA) have a full schedule of franchise expos set for 2010, with major expos planned in regional locations, easily accessed by prospects in all regions of the US.

Reported by Joel Goldstein