Arab Women - Franchising in the Arab World by Dr. Khaled A.Taki , Date : 5th February 2008

The time is right for Women to revolutionise the Franchise sector in the Arab World. An encouraging perspective!

When examining franchising in the Arab world, it is only logical to examine both female and male participation in this developing
sector, although women have up to now taken a secondary role as compared to the West, where for many years, women have been operating
at senior levels such as brand owners, franchisees and senior managers within the industry.

It is widely accepted that women are by nature more organised than their male counterparts and have been running homes and raising
families, which is not dissimilar to running a successful business. Women are energetic, decisive and determined, because more
often than not, they have to multi-task to keep either their family or business running smoothly. It is these qualities that
make women suited to run a business and as franchising provides the franchisee with a proven concept and a set of manuals on
how to run the business, it is clear that franchising is well suited to women, who are bound to enjoy owning and operating
their own franchise business.

In the Arab world, franchising is a relatively new concept and female participation has yet to develop proportionately, especially
at the higher level. Progress has been made in the past five years, as women have made their presence in the Private Business sector
and today Arab women are expected to do the same in the Franchise sector; in particular the in Gulf (GCC) countries.

With the huge surplus of money, mainly due to the increase in the price of oil, and in spite of women in some countries having
restrictions on their activities and even segregation from men in the more conservative countries, a considerable number of
women are now running their own small businesses, in particular nurseries, health clubs, photo stores, florists, retail food
stores and beauty shops. Additionally, their participation has increased in the wedding and event organising sectors, which
are very much suited to the female demographic.

Although most of the businesses run by women are not necessarily franchises, Arab women are now looking more and more at the
availability of franchises, because such options offer a proven business model, with a successful track record based on know-how,
therefore less risky than starting a new business and is also easier to run using the management tools that are available through
the franchisors. In the coming ten years the number of Arab women in franchising, owning and operating their own franchised outlets,
will increase dramatically.

It is in the interest of everyone that this trend is to be encouraged by both the public and private sectors, as well as by
their male counterparts; be it their fathers, brothers and/or husbands, for it will certainly help the national development
of the GCC countries. It Arab Women - Franchising in the Arab world by Dr. Khaled A.Taki , Date : 5th February 2008
must also be said that the regional banking sector must also sit up and take note of this rise in opportunity and appreciate the fact
that women can, in fact, run strong businesses.

Today a new generation of Arab women has emerged, who marry at an early age and their children are grown up and studying at university.
They find themselves with plenty of time on their hands and would welcome the opportunity to become their own boss or join hands with
other woman and acquire, own and run a franchise, which helps the economy grow and creates self employment.

Furthermore, in the GCC countries, it is felt that the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) funding schemes , should try and
introduce special schemes which facilitates and provides all Arab women seeking to qualify for a loan or grant, be it partial
or full capital funding, to start up their own business through buying a small sized franchise.

Many available franchises are in fact tailor made or adapted to suit and cater for women only, as it is customary in some
Arab countries to have specific sections in a Shopping Mall, for example, where single men are not allowed. These such areas
are designated as family/female sections only.

A lot of Arab women have considerable high-buying consumer power, which is bound to increase as they become even more educated
and realise the importance of contributing financially toward their joint family income and becoming financially independent as well.
The concept of franchising also helps reduce the risks considerably because the Arab woman is her own boss, and has a network of
people around her willing to provide help and support, which translates into motivation, reassurance and increases the drive to
achieve her goals.

The full participation of Arab women in the marketplace may take some time, but this is inevitable. Franchising and in particular
franchising in those sectors that are geared to female-run owner-operators, should not affect the other socially and
culturally-sensitive priorities, which include the importance of their roles within the family unit, be it their family or
business affairs.

The time has come for women to revolutionise the franchise sector in the Arab World and their positive contribution to society
and to economies as a whole, will speak for itself.

By Dr Khaled A. Taki - FBC Franchise Business Consultant, Gefinor Center ,Block C , Third floor 304 Beirut Lebanon ,
Tel. 961 3 668445 Website : www.fbcfranchise.com , e mail : info@fbcfranchise.com

Arab Women - Franchising in the Arab world by Dr. Khaled A.Taki , Date : 5th February 2008