Buffalo City to host first franchise expo

Excitement is building among Eastern Cape business owners as East London’s municipality prepares to position the region as a “go-to” place for investors at next month’s inaugural Buffalo City Franchise Expo.

“Business owners are excited about the expo because it is the first of its kind in the region and we already have 50 franchisees exhibiting at the event,” says Xolelwa Majiza, Buffalo City Municipality’s Business Development Unit’s project manager and expo organiser.

The two-day expo, organised by the Buffalo City municipality, aims to promote franchising opportunities and expose existing franchisees to potential investors.

The municipality has spent about R500 000 on the event which takes place at Abbortsford Christian Centre in East London on 13 and 14 November. About 300 visitors a day are expected at the event.

“We are hoping to link investors with both small and large franchisees so as to help open new doors for all attendees, while at the same time exposing potential franchisees to opportunities available in the Eastern Cape,” says Majiza.

The idea is to show business owners that there are business opportunities such as franchising which minimises the high risk of failure.

Manjiza says that despite existing business infrastructure and financial support programmes available to business owners in the region, many entrepreneurs are not aware of the benefits of franchising.

“Franchising is a new concept for emerging business owners here. As a franchisee, you don’t have the extra challenges other small business owners face because there is already a model which provides you with training and marketing support from the franchisor,” says Majiza.

She points out that the city has a number of shopping malls with plenty of vacant space to let to any franchise that chooses to set up shop.

Franchisees exhibiting at the event and those in attendance will be able to network and receive tips from experienced franchise owners, suppliers and potential customers.

Another aim is to develop and market Buffalo City municipality as a go-to place for investors.

She says the two-day event will feature talks by successful franchisees on a number of tried and tested franchising solutions.

This will also give established brands and investors an opportunity to assist small businesses to develop into bigger businesses.

A number of seminars will held be on topics such as:

  • How to build a successful franchise brand.
  • Best franchise practices in South Africa.
  • How to run a newly-bought franchise business.
  • Proven franchise strategies.
  • How to transform your business into a successful franchise.

Majiza says the municipality is hoping to get organisations such as the East London Business Chamber and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) as well as companies to join the initiative in order to promote franchising to local business owners through funding and material support.

“We also hope to partner with such organisations next year when we plan to move the event to the East London International Convention Centre, where we are hoping to host a bigger event,” says Majiza.

She says there is still space available for franchisees wanting to exhibit at the event.

Although she was unable to provide the exact size of the exhibition space, she says there is a fee of R1 500 for both days for those wanting to exhibit, with catering included.

Buffalo City Municipality, East London Business Chamber, , Small Enterprise Development Agency SEDA), Xolelwa Majiza

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