(The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Lebanese franchises are increasingly looking to grow their brands beyond Lebanon and the region. But as they do, they face a number of challenges, such as finding sustainable business models for the global market, creating an attractive Lebanese brand and competing in a new era of change and disruption.At the seventh annual Beirut International Franchise Forum and Exhibition BIFEX Wednesday, hosted by the Lebanese Franchise Association, dozens of franchises and hundreds of businesspeople converged on the Seaside Pavilion at the New Waterfront (formerly BIEL) to discuss the future of Lebanese franchising and how it can learn from the global market, on the first day of the two-day conference. Although a growing business trend, franchising is still relatively nascent in Lebanon, with most franchises having started in the last decade.In addition to the standard challenges of expanding into new markets, Lebanese franchises are also going abroad at a time of great disruption and change in all sectors.It has even more advantages, because you can capitalize on the [lack of] infrastructure," said Abdel Hakim, a Lebanese food and beverage entrepreneur who returned to Lebanon after working in Europe. He sees other returnees – many citing Lebanon's flexible business environment – as a positive sign for the sector.
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