Franchise companies from around the country will flock to the Buffalo City Metro this week for the fourth annual Franchise Expo.
The free three-day expo is hosted by the municipality in a bid to boost the local economy and create job opportunities.
The expo, which runs from Thursday to Saturday, will be held at the East London International Convention Centre and is expected to attract more than 4000 aspiring entrepreneurs.
BCM business development manager Xolelwa Majiza, whose unit coordinated the event, said the current economic climate was ideal for aspiring business owners.
“The resilience of the franchise sector has been confirmed once more by the results of the recently published Fasa [Franchise Association of Southern Africa] Sanlam Franchise Survey 2017.
“Although investing in a franchise is not a guarantee for business success, assuming that you make the right choice and are willing to work hard, there has never been a better time than here and now to start your own business.
“The government has accepted the development of small business as an effective weapon in the war against unemployment, poverty and other social ills. It backs this up by making various assistance schemes available to qualifying prospects.
“Several of the organisations mandated by government to deliver support will be exhibiting at the expo,” she said.
Majiza said the metro realised offering opportunities without creating the necessary support structures would be fruitless and would offer a series of workshops presented by experts in various fields to support visitors.
BCM mayor Xola Pakati said the municipality supported all programmes involving poverty alleviation, job creation and entrepreneurship development.
“We have identified the development of small and medium enterprises [SMEs] as a viable delivery channel but are aware that many independent start-ups fail within two to three years,” Pakati said.
“To address that, BCM’s department of local economic development [LED], acting through its business development unit, has identified franchising as an effective support mechanism.
“Workshops addressed by experts in their respective field help visitors understand how franchising works. Sessions on the financial and legal implications of franchising add extra value.”
Pakati said both existing and aspirant entrepreneurs would get the opportunity to explore a wide range of proven business models with clear support mechanisms.
“The expo also attracts a large number of financiers, offers a platform for networking, sharing of success stories and lessons learnt over the three-day period,” Pakati said. — firstname.lastname@example.org