Melbourne embraces franchising at outstanding Expo

Victoria can claim to be the most franchise-ready state in Australia, with thousands of visitors thronging to the Melbourne Exhibition Centre over the three days of the Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo, held 26-28 August 2016.

“This show was an outstanding success, in terms of both visitor and exhibitor numbers,” says Exhibition Manager Fiona Stacey. “It clearly shows the appeal of meeting face to face with the people behind the brands. Most importantly, our exhibitors are reporting good quality leads to follow up after the show, with qualified, investment-ready visitors.”

Event Director Tim Collett agrees. “It was great to see so many people through the doors each day, and feedback from exhibitors has been extremely positive. It caps off a great year for us with Expos in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as a new, boutique showcase event held at Crown Perth.”

An official event of the Small Business Festival Victoria, the Melbourne Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo featured 118 exhibitors, including a contingent of 12 Malaysian companies seeking to do business in Australia.

There were also free seminars and panel sessions on the show floor, with speakers such as Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) Executive Chairman Bruce Billson, Clark Rubber’s Managing Director Chris Malcolm, international speaker and author Sharon Jurd from HydroKleen and Lenard’s CEO Chris Caldwell.

“It is fantastic to see so many different companies here, it demonstrates how vibrant and diverse franchising is in Australia,” said Billson at the show.

The FCA also presented fascinating daily panel sessions with representatives from a range of successful franchise companies including Jim’s Test & Tag, Laser Plumbing, Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses, Just Cuts, Chocolateria San Churro and Clark Rubber.

On the show floor there was plenty of action, including ice cream from a new Mr Whippy Tuk Tuk, aerial videos from National Drones, ball games with Grasshopper Soccer, pizza tasting with New York Slice and caffeine hit from Jonnee Coffee and Xpresso Mobile Café.

“We launched our new Mr Whippy and Pretzel World mobile concepts at the show – we wanted to get in front of as many people as possible to see, touch and feel the concept,” says Jason Charles from Franchised Food Company. “Over the three days we received upwards of 150 leads for the two brands. I’d say 10% of those were very serious; we met many genuine buyers.”

Steve Caleo came all the way from Adelaide to meet with Jeff Rankin from Portermark at the Franchising Expo. “There’s no doubt that meeting face to face is the best way to do business, that’s why I drove over from Adelaide to meet Jeff, and it’s been very worthwhile,” he says.

“You want to know who you are dealing with,” explains Steve. “Investing in a business, you are taking a risk, so you want to be sure. I think the fact that he’s exhibiting here sets him apart from other businesses that you only find on the internet.”

Jeff Rankin launched Portermark, his innovative beer line cleaning franchise, at the Sydney Franchising Expo in March. Since then he’s expanded around Australia and 60% of his franchisees he met at the Expos in each state.

“This is the best show I have done, I’ve sold seven franchises and have lots more good leads to follow up. But it’s not just about selling franchises… what I really enjoy is the networking, you never know who you’ll meet.”

Other exhibitors that reported great results included EmbroideMe, Lenard’s, National Drones, Dream Doors, Retail Food Group, Ferguson Plarre, Poolwerx, Clark Rubber, Degani and Drugsafe Australia. First-time exhibitors The Jolly Miller, Splash Swim School, Grasshopper Soccer, Papa John’s Pizza, Love Pollo, Memory Keepsakes, TQ Stone and Fix’n’Chips were all very impressed with the number and quality of visitors.

Fiona Stacey says exhibitors have been quick to snap up space in the 2017 Expos to be held in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne.

“In 2017 we are celebrating 30 years of the Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo with a new venue in Sydney at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour,” she says. “We are also re-launching the Franchise Advice Centre to give visitors quality time with financial and legal specialists.

“There’s no better endorsement for a show than exhibitors immediately re-booking, and many are seeking an enhanced presence next year. It’s worth talking to our team as soon as possible to secure the ideal stand to help meet your targets for the year ahead.”

Franchising & Business Opportunities Expo 2017:

Sydney: 25-26 March at International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour

Perth: 7 May at Crown Perth

Brisbane: 22-23 July at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, South Bank

Melbourne: 26-27 August at Melbourne Exhibition Centre, South Wharf

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