Hosted in New York City for the second year in a row, the 2013 International Franchise Expo (IFE) marks the biggest in the event’s 22-year history. From June 20 to 22, nearly 20,000 visitors from more than 90 countries explored 413 franchise exhibitors at the Javits Center – from well-established name brands to emerging, fast-growing concepts. The success of this year’s IFE, put on by MFV Expositions, is further proof that franchising plays a significant role in the recovering economy.
As a testament to the industry, this year’s expo kicked off with a breakfast announcing the findings of the inaugural ADP National Franchise Report, created in collaboration with Moody’s Analytics to identify trends and insight into the sector’s impact on the labor market. The report shows private-sector franchise jobs increasing by 19,160 during the month of May, with restaurants, food retailers, and business services showing the largest increases. Approximately 150,000 jobs were added over the past twelve months through the franchising industry.
“The ADP report was the perfect start to this year’s expo as it helped solidify franchising’s position as an essential driver of small business and the U.S. economy,” says Tom Portesy, president and CEO of MFV Expositions. “This was further evidenced by the quality of attending potential franchise owners as more than 30 percent planned to invest between $100,000 and $500,000 in a new franchise business.”
More than 50 industries were represented at the expo, including everything from restaurant and education to health care and children’s services, representing North American-based companies looking to expand abroad as well as international brands looking to enter the U.S. market.
“As a first-time exhibitor and a relative newcomer to franchising, we weren’t sure what to expect,” says Scott Nelowet, founder of Florida-based French Fry Heaven. “We were thoroughly impressed not only with the sheer volume of foot traffic, but of the variety and quality of prospects we met. We spoke with people from all over the world who had a genuine interest in our simple French-fry-only concept. It’s hard to put a price on the kind of value you get from an event like the IFE.”
Attendees learned best practices from industry experts who hosted educational symposium geared toward every stage of the journey. Among these opportunities, one of the best attended was the International Symposium which included 13 symposia and seminars on essential topics from how to begin franchising internationally to how to choose the right markets. In addition, the IFE hosted a Private Equity and Finance Conference of four in-depth sessions led by the industry’s key players who shared insights on the state of financing in franchising and how private equity affects a franchise brand.
Attention from media organizations was high too, giving exhibitors opportunities to get their brands in front of consumers and investors beyond the show floor. FOX & Friends, CNNMoney, TheStreet.com, The Wall Street Journal, Telemundo, The New York Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, WPIX-TV, Black Enterprise Magazine, Associated Press, and CBS Evening News were just some of the news organizations interested in exhibitors.
Next year’s IFE will be held June 19 to 21, 2014 at the Javits Center.