The World Franchise Forum started on 30 May at the World Trade Centre in Moscow with the ‘Franchising as a Driver of the Global Economy and an Instrument of International Cooperation’ plenary session. The panel discussion touched on courses for Russian and international franchising to follow in their development.
In her welcoming address, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Galina Karelova congratulated participants on having an event like the World Franchise Forum and Expo held in Moscow. “The Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko and nearly every senator have asked me to convey their heartfelt greetings to all the guests and participants of the Forum. We are pleased that Russia’s request to hold the event was accepted,” Galina Karelova said, adding that just a few years ago the mechanisms of franchising were still a foreign concept in Russia but that the country now had a very good legal framework in place.
Emil Petrosyan, Deputy Head of the Department of Science, Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship of Moscow, read a welcome address on behalf of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, in which the mayor noted the importance of franchising for Moscow and the country as a whole and expressed confidence that the Forum would become a valuable platform for sharing experience and achievements. Emil Petrosyan added for his part that his department had been cooperating with the Russian Franchising Association for the last year and that the experience had been beneficial both for the city and for small business.
President of the Russian Franchise Association Agnessa Osipova noted that having such a landmark event held in Russia was proof of the importance of the Russian market to the international scene. “Russian franchising is mature not only in terms of approaches and development (15% growth per year), but also from the point of view of legislative framework. The President of Russia has assigned tasks to improve conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises and to improve social services and the quality of life, and franchising is the best model, the best impetus for this,” said Agnessa Osipova, adding that Russian businessmen need to be bolder since the demand for domestic franchises is real and continues to grow.
Chamber of Industry and Commerce of the Russian Federation Vice President Elena Dybova also spoke of the tools the agency possessed to help entrepreneurs. “Without a certain amount of preparation, it is always very difficult to get into business, and we are trying to promote franchising since we believe that it softens a little that initial entrance into business,” Elena Dybova said. She also presented the results of a survey of entrepreneurs that spoke of the difficulties entrepreneurs face due to a lack of support. The vice president of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of the Russian Federation urged entrepreneurs to work together with the RAF in order to avoid needless risks.
Member of the Board of Directors of RAF and founder of 1C Boris Nuraliev mentioned Russian legislation on franchising, which he called some of the best in the world. He also urged future franchisees to study the market and the franchisor they would be working with. “There are risks in any business, though franchising is a low-risk business if the franchisee and the franchisor are right for each other,” Boris Nuraliev added.
Chairman of the WFC Expert Council, Chairman of the European Franchise Federation, and Member of the Board of Directors of the British Franchise Association Michael Eyre, Executive Director of the Egyptian Franchise Development Association (EFDA) Hatem Zaki, Official Delegate of the Asia-Pacific Franchise Confederation Samson Samie Lim, and Executive Secretary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Business Council Sergey Kanavsky also took part in the session. Participants agreed that Russian franchising had the potential to forge relationships with the international community and that all franchisers in the world were one big family.