Attracting the Hispanic franchise community: franchise expos ramp up efforts to reach qualified Hispanic prospects.

Author:Goldstein, Joel

According to the Census Bureau, the Hispanic population in the United States grew from 35.3 million in 2000 to 45.5 million in 2007. At 15 percent of the overall population, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the United States, and continue to expand.

Hispanics are also one of the most under-serviced communities within the franchise industry. The National Minority Franchising Initiative estimates that Hispanics own approximately only six percent of all franchised outlets.

"The Hispanic community is our country's fastest-growing segment," said Tom Portesy, president of MFV Expositions. "But they are not strongly represented within the franchising industry."

California is one area where MFV has particularly intensified its outreach efforts to the Hispanic community. For instance, at the recent West Coast Franchise Expo in Los Angeles, advertising efforts focused around Hispanic business leaders and organizations in an effort to draw in a larger Hispanic population.

"Leading up to the West Coast Franchise Expo we expanded our efforts within the Hispanic community," said Portesy. "The Latin Business Association was a partner in the Expo, and we worked with the Minority Business Enterprise Center at the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles Minority Business Opportunity Center and the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce."

WCFE also heavily advertised in La Opinion and on Spanish-language radio, and opening ceremonies were led by Lorenzo Flores, the deputy district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration, L.A. district office.

Julian Montero of RM Attorneys at Law, a Miami-based boutique law firm that offers legal services with a focus on business immigration and transactions, counsels Spanish-speaking franchisees on business opportunities. RM Attorneys also created the content for "How to do Business in the U.S.," a Spanish-language forum designed to provide advice and assistance on how to franchise in the United States.

"At West Coast Franchise Expo we provided a presentation that targets the Hispanic community within the Los Angeles-metro area," he said. "In conjunction with local community leaders and the Hispanic business community, we helped target and educate qualified individuals on the ins and outs of franchising.

"The presentation goes through the analysis of buying a franchise, including the key concepts that have to be analyzed," said Montero. "We want franchisees to have a solid understanding of what they...

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