In this exclusive Q&A, we will be learning what’s new at this year’s International Franchise Expo (IFE) in New York City, from Tom Portesy, President of MFV Expositions, producers of the IFE.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Tell us what’s going on at this year’s IFE.
Tom Portesy (TP): We can’t wait for this year’s IFE in New York City that’ll be June 15-17. It’s the 26th annual, so there is a lot of experience behind the event, but we are introducing some new factors this year such as the summit for single-unit franchisees.
The expo kicks off with an opening ceremony, welcome to New York City, and ribbon cutting ceremony in the lobby of the Javits Center at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, June 15. After that, we invite aspiring entrepreneurs from all around the globe to learn about franchising and meet with top executives from more than 400 franchise brands.
The goal is for people to walk out on Saturday feeling confident they can change their lives by going into business for themselves, but not by themselves.
FC: What will be available to attendees in addition to the many franchisors?
TP: This year we have more educational programs than ever before. The price of admission gets attendees in the door and provides access to over 75 different educational sessions. Some of the more extensive workshops are available for an additional fee.
Current franchisees, prospective entrepreneurs, and franchisors can attend these sessions covering a range of topics including social networking and data in franchising, franchise exit strategies, questions to ask before investing in a franchise, how to succeed as a franchisee, franchising and diverse communities, and more.
New this year is a full-day growth summit for current single-unit franchisees. One session we believe will be particularly helpful is “From Single-Unit to Multi-Unit Enterprise” on Friday, June 16. We want current franchisees to walk away with a better understanding of what they want when growing their business and details of multi-unit growth and support initiatives. The seminar will also include detailed information on real estate, financing, accounting, and legal issues.
In addition to the vast amount of educational programs, many of the exhibitors offer special discounts or waived franchise fees for IFE attendees. Military veterans at IFE can look forward to discounts from members of VetFran, including Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Dogtopia, and Closets by Design.
FC: Anyone exciting we should be on the lookout for while we’re there?
TP: Definitely. This year we are pleased to have several all-stars in the franchising world on-hand to help entrepreneurs make the most informed decision about their future.
Robert Cresanti, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association (IFA) will be at the kickoff ceremony and ribbon cutting on the morning of Thursday, June 15 along with former star of CBS’s Undercover Boss Shelly Sun, co-founder and president of BrightStar Care and current chairwoman of the IFA.
Also from Undercover Boss, Catherine Monson, CEO of FASTSIGNS International will be at the expo to speak on women in franchising.
Additionally, representatives from some of the best groups and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs will be at the Javits Center. SCORE, Counselors to America’s Small Business, and New York Women in Business will all be conducting seminars on small business topics.
FC: What kinds of industries will be represented?
TP: A better question might be what kind of industries won’t be represented. At IFE you’ll find every type of small business imaginable. Food will be represented in full force with full service bars and restaurants, coffee houses, quick serves, fast casuals, food trucks, and more.
Potential franchisees will also be able to meet with executives from spas, salons, senior services, home care, tax services, employment services, business services, gyms, boutique fitness studios, and more.
Branching out from the more traditional franchise industries, up-and-coming trends will also be at the Javits Center, including franchises that specialize in STEM and coding, flexible workspaces, and energy reduction technology.
FC: What kind of investors are these franchisors looking for?
TP: Every brand has different investment requirements; however, there are predetermined levels of investment. This allows an attendee to take a look at their finances, see what they can afford, and specifically seek out the businesses in their budget. The seven different investment levels begin at under $10,000 and go all the way to $1,000,000 and above.
FC: If a reader is interested, how can they register?
TP: The IFE costs $10 to register in advance online at www.IFEinfo.com, and $20 at the door. However, those who register online using promo code FPR1 will receive a complimentary pass.