Expos and conventions are an excellent way to network with other franchising professionals, but which are the best for you?
Planning on meeting face-to-face with your next master franchisees? For your reference, we’ve compiled some of the biggest events of the year, and have listed them in this handy guide.
What: 2020 IFA Annual Convention
Where: Orlando World Center Marriott
Held at the iconic Orlando World Center Marriott, the 2020 edition of IFA Annual Convention is a must-go for any franchising professionals worth their salt. With more than 4,000 expected attendees, 50 educational sessions, and 350 supplier partners – you can’t afford to miss out.
Keynote speakers include Simon Sinek, author of Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, and Trent Shelton, the former NFL athlete turned successful motivational speaker.
The event also takes place a short five-minute drive from the beloved Walt Disney World Resort, which is perfect to combine a franchising touchstone with a fun-filled long weekend.
What: International Franchise Fair
Where: World Trade Center Mexico City
Latin America is emerging as a reputable hotbed for franchise activity at the moment, so events such as the International Franchise Fair are crucial for franchisors interested in penetrating this diverse market.
Now in its 43rd edition, previous iterations of the event have seen more than 380 exhibitors pitch their businesses to more than 31,000 investors and entrepreneurs; resulting in signed contracts and continuous revenue generation. In fact, previous International Franchise Fairs saw the value of negotiations exceed $82.2m. This show floor is undoubtedly the place to be.
What: Franchise Expo Nashville
Where: Music City Center, Nashville, TN 37203
Franchise Expo Nashville is part of MFV Exhibitions’ portfolio of events, which means that it’s brimming with opportunity and backed by one of the most experienced franchise show operators in the States.
Big names set to exhibit at this year’s edition include Global Franchise Award-winner FASTSIGNS, Nathan’s Famous, and Grease Monkey. Attendees can take part in immersive and informative workshops throughout the two-day gathering, and previous topics have varied from the essentials (‘The A to Z’s of Buying a Franchise’), to in-depth guidance sessions (‘Operations Manuals: The Foundation to Consistent Execution’).
Nashville is perhaps known best for its association with country music, and attendees have plenty to keep them entertained once the convention concludes. Iconic venues like the Ryman Auditorium or one of the city’s several whiskey distilleries can provide a slice of culture simply unobtainable elsewhere.
What: Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo
Where: ICC Sydney, Darlin Harbour
The Oceanic franchise industry has seen an explosion of activity in recent years, and franchising currently represents four per cent of Australia’s economy. The industry also employs over half a million people, and in a country with a total population of 25 million, that’s no small feat.
For investors planning to head Down Under, Sydney’s Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo is a must. Running throughout Australia since 1987, the event showcases the very best the country has to offer. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with the Franchise Council of Australia about the intricacies of this exponentially growing market, and a mix of local and international brands populate the show’s exhibitors list.
What: Franchise Expo Paris
Where: Porte de Versailles, Hall 2.2
If you’re a brand looking to enter the European franchise market, or a Parisian entrepreneur itching for your next opportunity, then this should be an essential date to mark in your calendar.
More than 500 brands will showcase their concepts, representing 27 nationalities; the event may take place in Paris, but it’s global in its scope. The expected visitor count is in excess of 35,000, so a brand meeting its next master franchisee is almost a certainty. And with nearly 100 conferences and workshops, covering a total of 90 business sectors, there’s something for each and every kind of attendee.
“The diversity of concepts represented in the show reflects the evolution of franchising and the new expectations of consumers,” says Sylvie Gaudy, show director. “That’s why we encourage everyone to come and develop their projects, with the best support possible.”
What: International Franchise Show
Where: ExCeL Exhibition Centre
Running for the past seven years, the International Franchise Show is one of the U.K.’s premium business events. Entry is free, and more than 200 brands will be in attendance, ranging from ActionCOACH to Cannabis Store Amsterdam.
Franchising is one of the most profitable industries in the U.K., and concepts from every industry imaginable are taking advantage of the country’s enthusiastic and entrepreneurial workforce. For the 2020 edition, the International Franchise Show has attracted some of the biggest names in the business, such as Guarav Marya, the ‘father of Indian franchising’, Farrah Rose, and John P. Hayes.
What: CFA National Convention
Where: Le Westin Montreal
Hosted by the Canadian Franchise Association, the CFA National Convention is Canada’s leading franchise event. It’s viewed as the largest and most prestigious Canadian exhibition of its kind, with more than 500 franchise leaders expected to attend.
As well as all the networking opportunities on offer throughout the event, attendees should be sure not to miss the Awards of Excellence, which cap off the long weekend by celebrating the best and brightest of Canadian’s effervescent franchise landscape.
What: 2020 Multi-Unit Franchising Conference (MUFC)
Where: Caesars Palace
Taking place in the city that never sleeps – at one of the most glitzy and glamorous hotels on the strip – the MUFC is known as one of the best networking events you could attend all year. With nearly 2,000 expected attendees and prospective franchisees brushing shoulders with expert franchisors on the show floor, this is the place to be if you’ve got your sights set on multi-unit expansion.
According to a previous attendee, the MUFC is “a place where you won’t be the smartest in the room. In other words, there are so many smart, and experienced, people to learn from.”
Keynote speakers this time round include entrepreneur and Shark Tank personality, Kevin O’Leary, and the history-making NASA astronaut, Captain Scott Kelly.
Where: Institution for Engineering & Technology
Hosted by the British Franchise Association (bfa), Superbrand returns to central London for the third time, and will once again be held at the Institution for Engineering & Technology.
The event focuses on three key areas: franchisors looking to enter the U.K. market, domestic franchisors looking to take their business from the U.K. to international locations, and multi-unit franchisees who want to know about the opportunities available for increasing their portfolio. These core pillars are explored through presentations, seminars, and carefully selected keynote speakers.
“We created Superbrand to fill a need for franchise systems to discuss challenges and best practice to enter the market in the U.K. or internationally,” said Emily Price, COO of the bfa. “Last year we had some fantastic feedback, and this year we will look to hone in on other key messages.”
What: International Franchise Expo (IFE)
Where: The Javits Center
If you’re based in the U.S. and want to see what the world has to offer, or are an international franchisor looking to penetrate the States, then the IFE is an essential event brimming with possibility.
According to the organizers of last year’s show, there was an average of 200 new leads generated per exhibitor; roughly 10 leads per hour. Still not sold? Tony Foley, president of United Franchise Group, noted how UFG “engaged easily over 1,000 people, not including the international guests we met with for master license purposes.”
Quite simply: for serious franchising professionals, the IFE is a must.
What: ABF Franchising Expo
Where: Expo Center Norte
The Brazilian franchise industry has a reported value of $2bn, and according to the organizers of ABF Franchising Expo, the country’s franchise market recorded a growth of 6.4 per cent over the first half of 2019. Brazil is climbing as a location of choice for franchisors, and this event is the perfect introduction to what works, which businesses are thriving, and who you should be speaking to for your next master franchise agreement.
Previous installments of the ABF Franchising Expo have garnered more than 400 brands, with upward of 66,000 attendees looking for the perfect brand to achieve their career goals. Think that could be you? Make sure you visit São Paulo in June.
What: Franchise Expo West
Where: West Hall A, Phoenix Convention Center
Organized by accomplished events group, MFV Exhibitions, Franchise Expo West is the premier franchise event covering the western United States.
Attendees should be sure to make use of the expo’s matchmaking app service, which facilitates the arranging of meetings ahead of the event itself. This means entrepreneurs and franchisors alike can maximize their time, and arrange the meetings which could shape their next decade of business – if not longer.
As with all of MFV Exhibitions’ events, Franchise Expo West will feature countless workshops that provide expert insight into the areas of franchising you can’t afford to miss.
Where: Marriott Old City
Every year, hundreds of franchisors launch their brand, only to falter and have to close units – either due to inexperience, a lack of demand, or an unfortunate combination of the two.
Springboard plans to disrupt this dreaded trend by targeting emerging franchisors and providing them with all the information and guidance they would need to succeed in the international market.
Now in its eighth iteration, Springboard always offers a selection of clinics and breakout sessions that explore specific issues relevant to new franchisors. For example, last year’s show had a franchise relations clinic that showcased the importance of communication, as well as a breakout session that centered around rethinking PR for emerging brands.
The event’s promise? “Your franchise IQ will be significantly increased, or a Philly Cheese Steak is on us.”
What: Be My Franchise
Where: CNR Expo Center
Touted as “the biggest annual franchise expo in Eurasia and the Middle East,” Be My Franchise will no doubt be essential to entrepreneurs looking to crack this vast, diverse, and lucrative region.
Be My Franchise has been running for 17 years, and 2020’s installment will see over 250 local and international brands converge on the CNR Expo Center, to be joined by an estimated 28,000 visitors.
The event is supported by the Turkish Franchise Association (UFRAD), and popular Turkish brands are joined by international heavy-hitters like Subway, Carl’s Jr., and Arby’s.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kieran McLoone is the deputy editor for Global Franchise.