(MENAFN Press) The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) franchise industry is worth an estimated US30 billion, thats according to International Expo-Consults (IEC), organisers of the upcoming Franchising Middle East (FME) exhibition.
With approximately 70% of retail businesses in the Middle East operating as franchises, the franchising sector has boomed across the Middle East in the past 30 years. According to IEC, the Gulf countries lead the way, with American and European brands proving most popular.
The phenomenal growth of the regions franchising sector is mirrored by the rapid expansion of the Franchising Middle East (FME) exhibition, taking place in Dubai in March.
This years FME trade show has seen a 30% increase in floor space as exhibitors from across the MENA region and internationally look to Dubai as a launch pad for further regional growth.
This years FME promises to be our largest show to date. FME will boast a variety of first time exhibitors as well as repeat exhibitors, all of whom are taking increased floor space. This shows us that companies are confident of securing deals and expanding their brands reach across the Middle East, said Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Chairman of International Expo-Consults (IEC), the organiser of FME.
FME 2011 will welcome franchise brands from across the world, such as Subway, as well as home-grown portfolios, including Emarat and ENOC.
Subway restaurants chain in the Middle East has recently undergone a period of rapid expansion, and now operates 100 outlets in the UAE, 44 in Kuwait and 43 in Saudi Arabia, following the addition of three outlets in the UAE and Kuwait and two in Saudi Arabia at the end of 2010.
Emarat is also expanding its franchise outlets. The petroleum giant opened its fourth Freshplus outlet in the UAE at Entrepreneur Business Village earlier this year.
Emarat also owns other trade names such as Bakeria, which specialises in light snacks, sandwiches, fresh bread and pastries; and Caf Arabicca, providing a wide selection of fresh and rich coffees.
Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc) launched the first 'green service station' in the Middle East earlier this year, at the Emirates Hills neighbourhood in Dubai.
Among the innovative green initiatives at the station are advanced technological devices to contain petrol fumes, solar-powered lighting, a 'waterless' car-washing system, new waste segregation systems, and design upgrades to reduce noise pollution.
The eighth edition of FME will take place on March 14-16, 2011 at the Sheikh Saeed Hall 1 at Dubai World Trade Centre. Exhibitors already confirmed for FME include Emarat, ENOC, Subway and Wyann International. International representation will include companies from Greece, India, Italy, Malaysia, The Netherlands and the US.
Franchise consultancies will also be on hand to offer advice to local entrepreneurs looking to take their brands global. FranCorp, FranExcel and MEFranchising will all be hosting pavilions at the event.
FME is the largest international franchise exhibition in the Middle East and is supported by the IFA (International Franchise Association). The exhibition facilitates direct communication between entrepreneurs and potential franchise buyers from the region and beyond. For more information visit www.franchisingme.com