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MECO unlocks franchise options for OFWs

Posted 2021-11-03 12:10:31

The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) has tapped franchising to open business opportunities for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

In the first of a series of Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) virtual seminar held last 29 October with the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), OFWs in Taiwan got a glimpse of the rudiments of franchising, smart handling of finances, and spotting scams. 

MECO KICKSTARTS TNK. The Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) stages the first in a series of Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) virtual seminars to provide OFWs an insider view on basic entrepreneurship skills. The initial offering featured the “Basics of Franchising,” in cooperation with the Philippine Franchise Association. The event was opened by Dir. Anthony Rivera, Director for Commercial Affairs; Mr. Wilfredo Fernandez, Resident Representative of Manila Economic and Cultural Office; and Ms. Lorraine Gail Chua, Trade Liaison Officer of MECO. Leading the speakers are Ms. Sherill Quintana, President of PFA and Mr. Chris Lim, incoming PFA president and Director for ASEAN and Special Projects. Other brand representatives are Ms. Kathryna Manalo, General Manager of the International Operations Group for Potato Corner; Ms. Cherryl Cariño, Senior Franchising Manager for Mister Donut; Ms. Rich Ann Dela Rosa, Franchise Marketing Supervisor for 7-Eleven; Mr. Gian Paolo Cejes, Franchise Manager for Banapple Pies and Cheesecakes; Ms. Therese Anjelica Dizon, VP - Sales for The Lost Bread; Engr. Giovanni Bogasan, Franchise Development Consultant for Aquabest; and Ms. Camille Malto, Franchise Consultant for U - Franchise Sales and Management.


TNK is an initiative led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and MECO, to promote entrepreneurship and help generate jobs and employment in the Philippines.

“Filipinos are born resilient and enterprising,” MECO Chairman and Resident Representative Wilfredo B. Fernandez said in his opening remarks, as he welcomed participants to the online learning session on the “Basics of Franchising”.

“I know our fellow Filipinos are eager to find ways to invest and franchising is an option,” he added.

The gradual reopening of businesses in the Philippines coupled with the national elections slated next year, PFA President Sherill Quintana said these factors augur well for the resurgence of the economy which present an opportune time for OFWs to acquire their own franchise.

“With franchising, you buy a tried and tested business which gives you a better chance at success,” Quintana said.

She cited that PFA members, with about 200,000 combined franchise outlets employing around two million individuals, have even adapted and learned to be relevant amid the coronavirus pandemic through digital technology, including the use of e-commerce sites and cashless transactions, among others.

“Now is the perfect time to franchise,” said Mr. Chris Lim, Director for ASEAN and Special Projects of the PFA and incoming president of the association.

Lim said franchising provides a better option for OFWs compared to starting a business of their own. Based on data, a franchise has a 90 percent success rate compared to 25 percent observed in a traditional retail business.

Besides, he said a franchise has the built-in advantage of a strong brand name, proven systems and procedures, solid marketing and promotions system, and backed by extensive product research and development.

In addition, Lim said that anyone who would acquire a franchise can rely on the support and experience of the franchisors. In effect, Lim said, “You’re in a business for yourself but not by yourself.”

Among the franchise packages presented during the TNK seminar were Potato Corner, Mister Donut, 7-Eleven, Banapple Pies and Cheesecakes, The Lost Bread, Aquabest, and U-Franchise Sales and Management. 

Quintana said OFWs interested in investing in a franchise should seek the assistance of the particular franchisor who could help assess their capability and present them with suitable options such as reseller program or a distributor package. 

For his part, Lim reminded the participating OFWs when investing, including getting a franchise, they should make sure to set aside a “buffer fund”.

During the open forum, participants were advised to conduct due diligence and research on the franchisor and inquire about their support system, the expected return of investment, and the experience of other franchisees to detect and avoid franchise scams. 

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” Lim cautioned, adding the OFWs may inquire with PFA to find out which franchises are legitimate and avoid being victimized by scams posing as franchises.

Chairman Fernandez announced that other brands may be presented in the forthcoming TNK sessions. 

“This is only one of a series of capacity-building sessions which DTI, DOLE, and MECO will continuously provide,” he concluded.