Bahrain:International Brands & Franchise Expo 2019

Manama: 24th January 2019: Under the patronage of H.E. Shaikh Khaled Bin Humood Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer, Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), and in cooperation with the United Nations IndustrialDevelopment Organisation (UNIDO ITPO Bahrain), the Arab International Centre for Entrepreneurship & Investment (AICEI), theMENA Centre for Investment,the Franchise Association of the Middle East (FAME), the strategic partner Tamkeen, the organisers Quick Media Solutions Company W.L.L (QMS), a press conference was held on Thursday, 24th January, 2019, at Bahrain Conference Centre – Crowne Plaza Bahrain announcing the upcoming launch ofthefirst edition of theInternational Brands and Franchise Expo 2019 (IBFEX 2019) in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The launch was attended and supported by delegations from business NGOs and associate partner; Small &Medium Enterprise Society (SMES), and Bahrain Business Women’s Society (BBWS).

The Expo,taking place between 11th – 13th February, 2019, is significant to local, regional, and international investment; highlighting franchising as a method towards promoting investment and trade facilitation between countries, while fostering improved economic development in both target and destination locations through the franchisor and franchisee. Franchising has become a process of integrating economy, culture, and governance across national borders.

The major objectives of the EXPO are the following:

  1. Raising the interest of MSMEs and entrepreneurs in franchising,
  2. Introducing regional and international franchising support institutions (private/public),
  3. Presenting on franchising and associated international best practices,
  4. Displaying information on the Franchise industry,
  5. Stressing the importance of Franchise capacity building programs and Franchise associations,
  6. Facilitate commercial tie-ups between Franchisors and Franchisees, and
  7. Empower entrepreneurs with knowledge and tools towards developing Franchise concepts.

The press launch started with the welcome address from the organisers presented by Mr. Benoy Kumar, Chairman of QMS, delivered a welcome note stating: “IBFEX 2019 is an exclusive expo focused on brand awareness, development, expansion and networking. This expo welcomes brand owners from various sectors to showcase their brand ideas, innovations and trends to the business market to claim new business opportunities and grow their business brand to an expansion model. Mr. Kumar also stressed that “with the sustenance provided by our supporting partners, this event will be focused on delivering a wide spectrum of solutions and support to all the entrepreneurs and enterprises across the MENA region”.

Mr. Jacob Jijo Philip, Director of Marketing and Exhibitions at Quick Media Solutions Co. W.L.L. (QMS) and member of the Expo Organising Committee,  delivered an introductory speech on behalf of the team. Mr. Philip outlined the main objectives of the expo saying:  “We are on a mission to make IBFEX 2019, in the kingdom of Bahrain, the hub of opportunities for global business networking”.

Mr. Philip also said: “We will be showcasing brands from the MENA region and international countries under one roof to connect them with the business professionals, Investors, International consultants, franchisors,technology experts and brand marketers.IBFEX 2019 will be a business networking paradise for all our entrepreneurs and Enterprises to discover new ideas,learn about new brand trends, understand more about franchise model expansion consult with reputed franchise associations, consultants and experts, and also connect with HNI investors and Venture Capitals to enhance their Brand to become pioneers in the business market.”

The patron’s keynote speech was delivered by Mr. Fawzi Tulefat, Director of Exhibitions and Conferences Marketing and Promotion of Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority (BTEA).  Mr. Tulefat conveyed the greetings of H.E. Shaikh Khalid Bin Humood Al Khalifa and his warm wishes to the organisers, partners, supporters and participants to succeed in their endeavours to achieve the sought objectives from this Expo.

Mr. Tulefat also highlighted that BTEA support comes in line with its main role in offering a strong and professional business platform for all businesses; locally, regionally and internationally. He also stressed that BTEA continues to assume its role along with other government authorities to support the local economy, Bahrain’s entrepreneurs and SMEs, provide opportunities and new business prospects at the local, regional and global levels specifically in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry.  In conclusion, Mr. Tulefat stated, “I would like to thank the organisers for this special patronage and extend appreciation to all partners, supporters, participants and sponsors of this promising event. I wish the organisers and their partners to achieve their objectives as well as support Bahrain’s thriving entrepreneurs and SMEs, further highlight and empower business women with their bold business endeavors and, succeed to make a positive economic impact.”

Dr. Hashim Hussein, Head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO ITPO Bahrain) and the Arab Centre for Entrepreneurship & Investment, statement: “We wish to express our gratitude and thanks to His Excellency Shaikh Khalid bin Humood Al Khalifa, the Chief Executive Officer of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority for patronizing the event, as well the event organizer and the sponsors, partners, associations and everyone involved.

This is the first edition of the event, and we strongly believe that it is highly significant to local, regional, and international investment; highlighting franchising as a method for micro, small, and medium sized enterprises towards promoting investment and trade facilitation between countries, while fostering improved economic development in both target and destination locations through the franchisor and franchisee. Franchising has become a process of integrating economy, culture, and governance across national borders.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Investment & Technology Promotion office in Bahrain, and the Arab Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment have a key focus on boosting MSMEs and franchising as a means for economic development and promoting investment; evidenced through the delivery of our Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion Program (EDIP) for the past 20 years, today dubbed the Bahrain Model of Entrepreneurship, supporting millions of entrepreneurs world-wide. In addition, we deliver technical programs on franchising, franchise counselling for local startups, enhancing local and regional knowledge of franchising, promoting partnerships, and ultimately initiating the Franchise Association for the Middle East (FAME). With the founding members: the MENA OECD Investment Center in Bahrain and the Lebanese Franchise Association.

The Middle East & North Africa’s business climate, with particular significance towards MSMEs, has begun to exhibit signs of maturity and growth in the entrepreneurship sector. This potential, enabled with increasing education and development of entrepreneurs, has led several MSMEs to begin considering Franchising as a way forward towards increased growth (as franchisors).

MSMEs with potentiality for franchising are investigating the Franchising spectrum, but with limited information on core franchising practices and minimal education on the subject; MSMEs undergo insufficient preparation on developing their own franchising potential and lack expertise in developing suitable and beneficial Franchising relationships. Furthermore, such entrepreneurs tend to lack effective representation through Franchising Associations in their target country, and on a regional level. Such obstacles hinder opportunities for economic growth and international trade.

Moreover, MSMEs contribute to poverty reduction, as they are the main source for economic activity that supports bottom-up economic growth, structural change and innovation. They create employment and generate income for the entrepreneur, the employees and often suppliers, and hence reduce economic and social disparities. Franchising is a promising and natural path of growth for such MSMEs.

In addition, entrepreneurs tend to lack effective representation through Franchising Associations in their target country, and more importantly on a regional level. Such obstacles hinder opportunities for economic growth and international trade.

The above necessitated the launch of the Franchise Association for the Middle East (FAME) in 2012, which provides strong and efficient coordination for franchisors through a network of franchises and similar organizations spreading awareness and coherence to MSMEs. The association involves multiple countries, and aims to empower the franchise spectrum while safeguarding the prime interest of franchisors and franchisees against possible malpractice.

Taking into consideration the lack of available associations in the region, FAME aims at utilizing the IBFEX to promote and support the establishment of franchise associations at the national and regional level, hence discussions are commencing with several entities to further this mandate.”

Dr. Hassan Al-Dairi, Chairman of Bahrain SMEs Society and associate partner stated:  “We are proud to be among the Association Partners of this event as we realise the importance of the Franchising system to many SMEs worldwide. The success of some local business owners who opted this system at an early stage bears great examples”

Furthermore, Dr. Dairi said “At our SMEs Society we always encourage our members to benefit from such important events that create synergy and help them grow their business and expand beyond the borders. The Franchise system proved to be an effective tool in this direction, and we congratulate the organisers for their efforts to put together such an important Expo with its theme of being a one stop expo for global networking.”

On the other hand, Mrs. Ahlam Janahi, President, Bahrain Business Women’s Society (BBWS) and associate partner said “The theme of “franchises” is now not new to the ears of Bahraini entrepreneurs, specifically female entrepreneurs, because it is one of the matters widely discussed at the businesswomen society, as we understand its importance in developing the economic status of small & medium enterprises in particular.”

Mrs. Janahi believes that “The emergence of distinguished Bahraini products and brands to the regional and even global markets is important and even imperative to develop the national economy, open up new markets for Bahraini products and increase exports, especially in light of the numerous governmental initiatives to support this trend to develop SMEs. The event is not only an opportunity to forge partnerships and bring foreign brands to Bahrain, but also to bring our brands to the world.”

At the end of the launch ceremony, the organisers thanked all participants starting with the patron, H.E. Sh. Khaled Bin Humood Al-Khalifa, its partners; Tamkeen, UNIDO, UNIDO-ITPO, MENA business centre development centre, BCCI, supporting NGOs and the local Media for playing a positive role in supporting the orgnisers in their efforts to contribute in the development of Bahrain’s local economy by connecting it to the world via its regional and international business partners and global business networking. The organisers also extended an open invitation to all Bahrain enterprises to register to participate in the IBFEX2019, and take advantage of this unique business opportunity and experience.

International News Desk, Bahrain

Mr.Sisel Panayil Soman, COO – Middle East



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