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Franchise Conference Spurs Growth in the United Arab Emirates

By Josh Merin, CFE


International Franchise Association International Committee Chairman and Past IFA Chairman Mike Isakson and I represented IFA at the second annual “International Franchise Conference & Exhibition” November 18 and 19 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  Organized by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the event raised awareness of franchising among Emirati firms, introduced best practices and offered a range of franchise opportunities to help diversify the UAE economy.  In totle, 160 franchise companies from 17 countries took part in the exhibition, including eight from the United States.

At the opening of the conference, ADCCI announced the launch of the UAE Franchise Development Association. The association hopes to join the World Franchise Council and would become the council’s first member in the Gulf. Isakson made presentations during the conference on the “How to’s” of franchising, franchise operations and habits of highly successful franchisors and franchisees.  I made opening remarks and led a Q&A panel.

After the conference Mohammed Helal Al-Muhairi, director general of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed, “The success of the second International Franchise Conference and Exhibition and the opportunities it offered in a number of franchising sectors certainly will support the approaches of the Chamber and the official authorities to develop and enhance the role of small and medium enterprises in the economy of the UAE in general and Abu Dhabi in particular.”

Josh Merin, CFE is director of international affairs for the International Franchise Association. Find him at


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