Gulf Daily News - 18/4/2006
Bahrain will be the headquarters of the new Franchising Association in the Middle East (FAME) to support and globally promote regional franchises, it was revealed yesterday.
It will also host the Gulf Franchise Expo 2006, which will be held at the Diplomat Radisson SAS Hotel on April 24 and 25.
Such efforts will be instrumental in "revolutionising the way small and medium enterprises (SMEs) do business" in the region, organisers said yesterday.
More than 30 exhibitors will conduct presentations for more than 50 franchise concepts at the event.
Seminars and interactive session with industry leaders and consultants from all over the world are scheduled to be held on the sidelines of the expo from April 24 and 26.
Pre-registered visitors from all over the Gulf and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are expected to attend the event, as well as business representatives from India.
Bahrain is the "ideal gateway" to the Gulf and MENA region as a whole, Bahrain Convention and Exhibition Bureau exhibitions and destination marketing manager Debbie Stanford Kristiansen said yesterday.
She was speaking at a Press held at the BIEC to announce the event.
"Bahrain has historically been an important trading nation and prosperous financial centre, strategically located in the middle of major trading routes in the region," said Ms Kristiansen.
"Events like this will not only help create general awareness on relevant areas, but further boost Bahrain's desire in creating a niche for itself in the arena of global industrialisation."
Franchising offers SMEs the opportunity to increase investment on the domestic and foreign fronts as well as allowing the transfer of technology, skills, machinery and expertise to destination countries, said United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), Bahrain, Investment Technology Promotion Office head Dr Hashim Hussein.
"The Gulf Franchise Expo is not intended to be a one shot event, but rather a continuous activity - our objective is to institutionalise the concept of franchising in the region.
"The establishment of FAME will undoubtedly also boost the development of national SMEs, and partnership between local entrepreneurs and foreign counterparts.
"The association aims at developing and formalising local and regional successful businesses into franchise concepts to be promoted on the global arena."
More than 50 per cent of pre-registered visitors are from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, indicating a strong interest in opportunities from local investors, said Dubai-based Institute for International Research (IIR) business solutions manager Tarek Nassar.
"The exhibition will showcase international brands and franchise to these key markets.
"Principal attendees have already been identified as medium to large investors from the region that are looking to buy into international brands that mainly focus on retail, automotive products and services, food, real estate, hotels and travel."
The expo is being organised by IIR in co-operation with the Bahrain Investors Centre (BIC), Bahrain Commerce and Industry Ministry and Unido Bahrain. It will be held under the patronage of Commerce and Industry Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro.