Franchising is a job booster in Puerto Rico and a local firm is planning to expand its training program to four different venues islandwide this month in a move to foster this type of entrepreneurship, News is my Business has learned.
“Franchising is a boon for the jobless because it can offer self-employment with as little investment as $10,000,” said Ricardo Rivera-Badia, vice-president of Franchise Developers, a San Juan firm.
The company will hold free training programs in Ponce, Ceiba, Bayamón and Cabo Rojo. The company owns at least a dozen franchise licenses it hopes to push, but Rivera-Badia said anyone interested in different opportunities will receive the same training and support from his firm.
U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Puerto Rico presently has an unemployment rate of approximately 16.1 percent. The agency statistic confirms this as one of the highest amongst the 50 states and the territories.
“With business ownership becoming a more realistic option for jobless workers or in career transition, we will be explaining 12 or more franchise business to participants during these free seminars and promise to coach those interested in taking the plunge,” said Rivera-Badia.
Franchise Developers, established in 1998, owns the licenses to hotdog, car detailing, coffee shops and frozen yogurt franchises, which require minimum investment. Others require as much as $100,000 or more.
“We aim to help individuals discover if working for themselves can meet their goals, needs and expectations. Simple as that,” explained Rivera-Badia.
80’s franchise boom
He said Puerto Rico saw a boom in franchising during the 1980’s when big names such as Coca Cola, Burger King, McDonalds, Subway and others, expanded their business licensing on the island in different formats. As an example, there are 215 franchised Subway restaurants in Puerto Rico.
“Franchising is and old business practice, begun in 1850 when small Singer sewing machine shops sprung up all over the Americas. This was followed by General Motors car dealers franchisees in 1890,” said Rivera-Badia.
In 2013, the International Franchise Association counted 784,802 licensed businesses in the United States alone, sponsoring 8 million jobs and $740 billion in sales.
“There are many people in Puerto Rico looking for information on franchising opportunities and we will now fill the need by offering seminars all over the island,” said Rivera-Badia. The executive said precise statistics on franchising in Puerto Rico are hard to come by.
The local franchisor considers that with economic indicators focusing on the downturn in the labor force, a trend toward leaner companies and an increase in service sector jobs, the market for business coaching is ripe. The company dubs its new approach as “franchise tours’.”
“Before, we usually just gathered a small group of interested people and gave them a workshop. Now we convoke all over the island,” said Rivera-Badia.
The company offers franchise orientation services, legal training, credit rating, marketing research, accounting, business options, financing and management tutoring.