Women in Franchising


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The world of franchising is no longer the boys’ club it once was, as more women have taken a place in franchising. Between 2007 and 2016, women-owned businesses increased by 45 percent. Not to mention, women are now majority owners of roughly 38 percent of U.S. businesses. The numbers have continued to grow this year.

Among the trailblazers is Marisa Faunce, a partner at Plave Koch PLC, a firm that specializes in franchise law. Faunce provides legal counsel to franchisors and licensors regarding regulatory and intellectual property matters throughout the development and growth of their franchises.

Alongside her work at Plave Koch PLC, Faunce serves as the Chair of the Women’s Franchise Committee (WFC) of the International Franchise Association (IFA). The committee strives to “empower leaders in franchising by promoting women’s participation in the industry and providing international networking opportunities.” In her role as Chair, Faunce has helped advise women interested in franchising.

The committee strives to “empower leaders in franchising by promoting women’s participation in the industry and providing international networking opportunities.”

“Our committee supports women in franchising and makes sure that women have a network of other women to meet with,” Faunce said. “The numbers of women in franchising are increasing and the trend is phenomenal. We’re seeing this shift in corporate America in general where women are feeling more empowered.”

“We’re seeing this shift in corporate america in general where women are feeling more empowered.”

At the recent IFA Franchising Expo in New York City, Faunce moderated a seminar that aims to introduce women to franchising. The seminar featured several panelists, all  women in franchising, that provided different tips and tricks they had found to be useful. For many women, responsibilities like child care create an obstacle, deterring them from small business ownership, according to Faunce. However, she does not believe that outside responsibilities or interests should keep women from purchasing a franchise. Rather, women need to find franchise opportunities that work with their home life.

“One of the things I heard from women on the panel is that they were doing research on brands that would fit their family and workplace balance,” Faunce said. “Women need to think about making their ownership of a franchise fit with their outside interests.”

“Women need to think about making their ownership of a franchise fit with their outside interests.”

Research is a key piece of advice that the panelists, Faunce included, expressed to attendees. Women need to use resources such as the IFA website to fully inform themselves of the different franchising opportunities out there, Faunce explained.

“I would encourage women who are interested in either starting or purchasing a franchise to reach out to the IFA,” Faunce said. “Women can also connect with [the WFC] and we can put them in touch with the WFC women’s network in their area. I encourage them to do a lot of research on the brands they’re interested in purchasing a franchise with.”

Faunce anticipates that the number of women in franchising will continue its upward trend in the coming years.

“Franchising is a big driving force in our economy,” Faunce said. “It’s a phenomenal space for men and women alike.”

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