SINGAPORE - A record number of seven deals were sealed at the Franchising & Licensing Asia (FLAsia) exhibition and conference, held at Singapore's Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre from October 3 to 5.
Organised by BizLink Exhibition Services Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), the event showed the resilience of the franchise scene in face of the global downturn. It also strengthened FLAsia's position as the international event for entrepreneurship, business opportunities and intellectual property rights in Asia.
Deals were already inked on the first day of the event, when it was officially opened by Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry.
Ms Sally Forrest and Mr Vikas Malkani of licensor Soul Centre Pte Ltd signed a contract with licensee Mr Adimas Danny Soeryadjaya for a three-year unit license in Jakarta, Indonesia. Fun Toast Pte Ltd and franchisee Ms Jess Lee also entered into a partnership for a single unit franchise in Singapore.
Soul Centre conducts a life-skills programme, SoulKids®, which helps develop essential abilities such as leadership, independence, discipline, teamwork and self-understanding through games and experiential learning; while Fun Toast is a coffee chain that has six outlets in Singapore with three more in the pipeline.
Mr Winston Lim, General Manager of BizLink Exhibition Services, said: "We are extremely delighted to see many entrepreneurs realise their dreams at FLAsia, with a record signing of agreements this year."
Three franchisors, Much, Seriously Additive Mathematics, and The Eight Note also signed their individual franchise agreements with franchisees at FLAsia 2013.
Mrs Hsien Naidu, founder of Astreem Consulting Pte Ltd, said: "With a tightening labour market and rising retail rentals in Singapore, franchising is really becoming a vehicle of growth that business owners are starting to take seriously. The key, of course, is investing the necessary resources in terms of human capital, technology and financial investments."
More partnerships were forged on Day 2 and 3 of the exhibition.
Chef's Noodle, a rapidly expanding three-year old Asian-fusion style franchise restaurant with 52 outlets in Korea and overseas footprints in Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a Master Franchise with a Malaysian corporation to operate the brand in Malaysia.
Chef's Noodle was also one of the participants at the largest ever Korea Pavilion in FLAsia. Taking age-old Korean recipes and adding a modern twist, Chef's Noodles serves both noodles and rice dishes with its well-balanced combination of meat and vegetables and a hearty beef-based broth.
The Cheese Steak Shop and local franchisee Mr Manson Tay signed an agreement to open a single unit in Singapore with the option of having another one within the year.
Originating from the US where they currently have 31 branches, The Cheese Steak Shop is the only known restaurant chain in Northern California that makes the tasty and original Philadelphia-style cheese steak sandwich, combining the mouth-watering taste of prime cut beef, grilled onions and cheese.
The brand made its first foray outside the US to the Philippines, via Ms Mai Uy who obtained the Master Franchise rights after she fell in love with the sandwiches while studying there.
Now coming to Singapore for the first time, Mr Manson is positive about expansion plans and hopes to open at least two outlets in the first year. Just last year, he spotted the brand at FLAsia 2012's exhibition and was drawn to its uniqueness and immense potential for the local market.
On the signing, Ms Mai Uy from The Cheese Steak Shop said: "We are very excited to have this signing at FLAsia and we look forward to its expansion in Singapore. We believe Manson will help take The Cheese Steak Shop to greater heights in Asia."
Apart from the many deals sealed, the first ever roundtable discussions at the FLAsia International Conference received positive feedback from delegates. The inaugural closed-door networking event, Taste of International Franchise, held for overseas group delegations, trade bodies, media, conference speakers and delegates, was also well-received.
FLAsia will return from October 16 to 18, 2014. For more details, visit www.franchiselicenseasia.com