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To succeed in the increasing competitive Latin American business world, a growing number of entrepreneurs are choosing the franchise route. Rather than try to create a new retail store, a restaurant or a service company from scratch, these business owners can take advantage of a pre-existing model developed in North America, Europe or elsewhere in the region.

For business owners, franchising usually provides a recognized brand name, training and support, technical assistance and a well-defined marketing and sales program. What the franchise owner brings to the table is the capital needed to launch the business and the desire to achieve a financial goal.

Franchising allows investors and entrepreneurs to improve their odds of success, while minimizing the risks involved in any new venture. And since many major franchise organizations are only now beginning to expand into Latin American markets, the opportunities for long-term rewards are considerable.

Today, many franchise organizations are customizing their models to accommodate Latin America's highly diverse consumer and business markets. This approach enables a Latin franchise owner to draw on an international organization's experience and support, while offering products and services that meet the needs of the local marketplace.


In 1965, three weeks before beginning his freshman year at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, Fred DeLuca opened a sandwich shop called Pete's Super Submarine Sandwiches. DeLuca was 17 when he launched the venture to earn money for his college tuition.

Today, Pete's Submarines has become Subway(R) Restaurants, the largest submarine sandwich chain and second-largest fast-food chain in the world. With more than 14,000 locations worldwide and current annual sales in excess of $3 billion, the Subway(R) restaurant chain is a leader in the quick service restaurant industry.

DeLuca opened his first sandwich store with a $1,000 loan from a family friend, Dr. Peter Buck. After some time, DeLuca abandoned his original pre-med studies plan and graduated from the University of Bridgeport with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology.

But with business booming, "I thought a career in sandwiches was more promising," DeLuca says -- proving that he is a master of sandwiches.

DeLuca recently founded a MILE (Micro Investment Lending Enterprise), which offers a small loans to individuals interested in starting their own businesses who do not have the means to go the traditional loan avenue. The members of MILE are given an opportunity to gain businesses support via community mentors. "I wanted to give something back to the community that helped me become a success and after all, I started with only a small loan," says DeLuca.


In Latin America's competitive economic environment, "a business without a sign is a sign of no business," according to Ray Titus, president, Sign-A-Rama, a global organization based in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Sign-A-Rama, which has served businesses in the United States and overseas for 15 years, is now expanding into Latin America. "There is a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs or current sign companies to grow and service the Latin American market," says Titus. "We are wide open to offering master licenses, area development programs and individual franchises."

Sign-A-Rama offers full-service, one-stop shopping for all types of signs, including electronic scoreboards, neon, engraved wood, vinyl lettering, painted logos and cloth banners. Using advanced computer technology, virtually any sign request can be fulfilled quickly to a customer's exact specifications. With its convenient South Florida location and bilingual staff, Sign-A-Rama is ready to serve its franchisees throughout the region. Stores are already open in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Panama.
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Publication:Latin Trade
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:0LATI
Date:Feb 1, 2000
Previous Article:E-Business: Rewriting the Rules of Business Success.
Next Article:Brazil 2000.

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