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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

There is a Big business in every small one

Brighter prospects for non-food franchisingTHERE are future Jollibees and National Bookstores hidden in small businesses just waiting to be discovered.

This is the belief of the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), an umbrella group of franchising companies, which is why it goes to great lengths to look for start-up companies to be featured in its annual franchise fair, which is running this year from July 14 to 17 at the World Trade Center.

Former PFA president Manuel Siggaoat tells the Inquirer how just a few years ago Reyes Haircutters was one of the new business concepts being “incubated” by the association.

Today, Reyes Haircutters has over 100 branches all over the country and has even recently opened its first branch in the United Kingdom.

Siggaoat says he is confident that there are other concepts that will likely exhibit the same growth, especially those from the provinces.

For this year’s show, which will end this Sunday, businesses to be featured in the emerging concepts section come from the retail, food and services sectors.

In the food sector, there’s the PotDog YummyYes Delights, Anak ng Siopao of the Cinco Holdings Corp., Rosing’s Hopia, Hero Great Bites and the Highlanders Brown Rice Tea.

PotDog YummyYes Delights started in 2003 and offers fried snack foods, such as potato slices, crispy “siomai,” lobster balls and octopus tofu.

Hero Great Bites started just last December 2005 and is out to conquer the processed meat industry with its own line of Hungarian sausages, “tapa,” “tocino,” “longganisa,” corned beef, sweet ham, hamburger patties and hotdogs.

Objects of Wood Inc. and Kaila banner this year’s retail section.

Objects of Wood manufactures and exports high-quality wood products, such as wood stands, displays for plates, jars, vases, bookends and small furniture pieces.

It started operations in 1986 with business geared toward the export sector. It was only recently that it has decided to more aggressively explore the local market.

Kaila is into bags and accessories, and has branches at Eastwood City, Riverbanks Center and Robinsons Metro East.

Like many businesses, Melanie Ong’s Kaila started from her hobby of making trendy bags from the garage of her home.

Encouraged by the response from her family and friends, she decided to make a business out of her hobby.

Today, Ong intends to make Kaila the most popular line of bags for girls, young adults and women looking for a unique bag to add to their collection.

The PFA expects a boom in the services sector, and ideas continue to emerge.

There’s Ang Susi Ko, which is into the key duplication business; Socialites Driving Institute, which wants to bring professional driving school services closer to the people, and Cardprints, which designs and prints its own line of wedding invitations.

Siggaoat says PFA reaches out to these companies and explains to them the benefits of opening up their business to franchising as part of its thrust to increase the number of Philippine franchisors.

He explains that the PFA has programs designed to cater to companies of all sizes.

For the small companies, PFA brings them to the show under the emerging concepts section to make them visible, especially if they are coming from outside Metro Manila.

For medium-scale firms that already have working business models and perhaps even one to two franchisees, PFA encourages them to go to the franchise show to put them on their way to becoming national brands.

And for the large ones, going outside the Philippines is the next step, for them to show that Philippine firms have what it takes to break into the world market.

But it is the small ones that PFA particularly wants to bring out into the open.

To meet this end, Siggaoat says that the PFA has tied up with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry to identify at least three to five concepts from the regions that can be developed.

This way, the PFA hopes to take part in the emergence of more Jollibee success stories.

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