Franchising has come to a crossroad as it looks back on the last year of upheaval.
The Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) felt that the time was right to call on its members, its stakeholders and the public to join them in a key conference to be held virtually on the 25 and 26 August 2021 that will serve to review and reboot the sector.
According to Pertunia Sibanyoni, Chair of FASA, “there is no question that franchising fared far better than independent businesses during these tough times but, as a sector that contributed almost 15% to the country’s GDP in 2019, we need to analyse the impact of COVID-19 and regroup to ensure that franchising recovers and is poised for even greater growth in the future. This is the first conference to disseminate franchise and business performance since the pandemic and the first to set its sights on a meaningful recovery.”
FASA, in association with and sponsored by Absa, and in collaboration with Franchise Coaches and GroeGlobal, is staging this virtual recovery business network and educational conference over two days and in two concurrent session tracks bringing together local, African and international participants to give a broader view of the viability of franchising. According to James Noble, Head of Retail and Franchise at Absa Business Banking, every sector of franchising is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic in its own way and at its own pace – from the fast-food sector that is benefiting from online orders and deliveries to the DIY sector showing good results as people turned to home improvements during the lockdown. “But there have also been casualties along the way and we, as a commercial bank with a dedicated franchise division, want to play a key role in getting existing franchises back on their feet and paving the way for the future growth of franchising – not only in South Africa but in the rest of Africa.”
Sectors in the spotlight
While franchising in South Africa is represented in around 14 business sectors, the FASA conference will concentrate on four of the major sectors, bring in franchisors to give their perspectives and have experts on panel discussions to debate the way forward.
– The Restaurant and Quick-service Restaurant Sector – will focus on the fight to keep their doors open to how franchises tweaked their models to stay relevant and embrace changes. We will also speak to association representatives and top franchise brands.
– The Consumer Services Sector – from how some within the services sector could capitalise on specific demands to others who now face new challenges as consumer demands change. International franchise brands will join the panel discussion.
– The FMCG Sector – getting perspectives from local operators on how they had to adapt to meet consumer expectations and the challenges that the consumer goods sector faces going forward.
– The Automotive Sector – already in a quandary as it faced IR4 changes to its very existence, we weigh in with local fuel retailer and automotive associations as well as get some insight into the Smart Mobility of the future.
Where to next for franchising?
The second stream of the two-day conference, which runs concurrently with the sector days, will focus on steering the franchise sector to future stability and growth. Some of South Africa’s most respected franchise, business and legal consultants – who have their finger on the pulse of what is happening in the sector – will weigh in on where we’re at and what needs to be done to take franchising to the next level.
Franchise experts will discuss rising from the ashes – from the nitty-gritty’s of rebooting and resetting to getting franchisees back on track, to the future of franchising.
– Operationally and on the legal front, the changes brought on by COVID-19 and how they impacted on franchising will be tackled by legal experts who will discuss some of the changes that need to be made on both contracts and operationally to accommodate changes such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).
– Focusing on Africa and with South Africa the natural springboard to the rest of Africa, we disseminate a key survey that looks at franchising in Africa as well as share the results of a local survey on the impact of COVID-19 on women in business.
– International franchising will be represented by a number of franchise brands and consultants, as well as the World Franchise Council, of which FASA is a long-standing member, who will give an overview of how global franchising has fared and a panel of franchise associations from around the world will participate in a panel discussion.
“It is up to us, as the franchise community,” concludes Pertunia Sibanyoni “which has contributed so much to the country’s economy over the past forty years, to ensure that our sector recovers from the effects of the pandemic and sets goals for renewed growth in the future.”
By: The Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA)