Franchising's oldest and largest showcase, the International Franchise Expo, begins its 18th run in Washington, D.C. March 20 and this year should prove to be anything but typical.
As our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. brings together countless people from around the world, and as a result, it has always been the ideal location to host the nation's pre-eminent international franchise event, this year even more so, as the historic inauguration attracted global dignitaries and leaders to D.C.
With more people turning to franchising as a way to take control of their own careers in an uncertain economy, nearly 10,000 investors are expected to walk through the doors of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center throughout the three-day event March 20-22.
And this year that will include representatives from more than 60 international delegations.
Last year's IFE attracted more than 14,000 visitors, including 1,200 international participants, and 300 of the top concepts in the country.
"The IFE is part of a select group of U.S.-based events that the U.S. Department of Commerce endorses for its International Buyer Program," said Tom Portesy, president of MFV Expositions. "IFE serves as the host to delegations from around the world. We are proud to support the international relationships that benefit our exhibitors."
With hundreds of exhibitors confirmed, there will be no lack of options for international prospects searching for concepts.
"We exhibit at the IFE primarily because of the great international exposure," said Shane Connell, franchise sales director for Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems. "We're placing an emphasis on our international growth and need to be at IFE to meet with the decision makers that attend the event."
The expo offers unsurpassed international franchise opportunities and consistently attracts quality foreign buyers, investors and distributors.
"We exhibit at the IFE to sell franchises," said Peter Holt, chief operating officer for Tasti-D-Lite. "We think that this show is a premier opportunity to highlight our business opportunity for this market and around the world."
Franchisors credit the opportunity to meet face to face with a seemingly endless parade of domestic and international prospects as the reason that the show has remained the franchising premier event after almost two decades.
One concept, Bishops Barbershop, chose to launch at West Coast Franchise Expo last year. "Our primary goal at WCFE...