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Things You Didn’t Know about Samie Lim, the “Father of Philippine Franchising”

Written by
Sam Christopher Lim
SVP for Marketing and Strategy, Francorp Philippines

photo-2As we celebrate Father’s Day today, allow me to write something in honor of my father, also the “Father of Philippine franchising” himself, Mr. Samson “Samie” Lim.

As a father, he continuously inspires me and my siblings to strive for excellence in our every endeavor. As a “father” to the local franchising industry, he also continuously inspires thousands of homegrown entrepreneurs to aim higher and push their brands to the global stage via franchising.

Here are some things you probably did not know about my father, the “Father of Philippine franchising”:

1. He is also the “father” of Mother’s Day in the Philippines.

Did you know that my father popularized Mother’s Day celebrations in the country? Back in the day, Mother’s Day treats (and even Father’s Day treats) were not yet common, and were usually left in the hands of greeting card companies and flower shops. But as one of the founders of both the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) and the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), my father pushed its members—which includes brands like Jollibee, Goldilocks, and Max’s Fried Chicken, just to name a few—to offer special Mother’s Day treats to their customers. “My greatest joy is the fact that I have made a difference in the life of millions of Filipino families with the annual celebration of Mother’s Day,” he says.

2. He didn’t know anything about franchising when he started.

Coming from a family of appliance and furniture retailers, my father already knew his way around business. However, he admits to not knowing much about franchising when he started in the industry 20 years ago. “Everything I learned about franchising, I learned from someone else,” he recalls. In order to learn more about franchising, and to also bring international franchising standards to the country, my father brought in the franchise of world-class franchise consultancy firm Francorp.

Speaking-in-Franchise-Asia,-the-largest-franchise-expo-and-conference-in-Asia

3. He is both a franchisor and a franchisee.

My father, needless to say, practices what he preaches as he is a franchisor and a franchisee in his own right. Aside from owning home appliances store Automatic Center and lifestyle furniture store Blims Lifestyle Group, my father is also a franchisor of the world-famous living room essentials store La-Z-Boy Gallery. He is also the master franchise holder in Asia of the Canadian Tourism and Hospitality Institute and, more recently, he also became a franchisee of French furniture brand Gautier.

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4. He has a talent for uniting people.

As a retailer, my father already knew that business was his forte. Later on, he realized that he also had a talent for bringing people together. He believes that there is strength in numbers, so he used this talent of his to build business organizations in different industries. He started in his turf, in the appliance and furniture industry. Then, he moved to unite different retailers in the country, giving birth to the PRA, which later on gave birth to the PFA. Now, he is focused on uniting the tourism industry and the private education sector.

5. He once served as Trade undersecretary.

My father’s expertise and influence in the business sector did not go unnoticed. In 1999, my father had the honor to serve as the Undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). During his term, he also became the general manager of the National Development Company, the government’s premier investment arm under the DTI. To this day, he still considers it as one of his greatest accomplishments, alongside the privilege of serving as president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in 2007.

vice-president6. He wanted to become Vice President of the Philippines.

My father has always been a visionary. In 1975, when he was just 25 years old, he already had great plans on how to build the nation and its industries. Back then, he wanted to enter the political scene and eyed a public office—the vice presidency. “However, the declaration of Martial Law crushed my dream, so I moved to Plan B,” he recalls. His Plan B was to unite different industries through strong business organizations, which he believes can help build the nation together.

7. He was born at home, with the aid of a midwife.

Being one of the country’s most successful retailers, one would think that my father has always had it easy. But did you know that he was born at home, with the aid of a kumadrona (midwife), into a middle-class family in Tondo, Manila right after the war? But his family has always been entrepreneurial, a trait which he obviously inherited—as a kid, my father was already selling batteries to his neighbors. Then, he was granted a scholarship in the Ateneo de Manila University, where he graduated cum laude. And the rest, as they say, is history.

All his life, my father lived by this motto: “to be the greatest service to the greatest number of people.” Today, I can proudly say that my father is living his dream, as he is also “father” to an industry that empowered thousands of entrepreneurs, and currently employs 1.2 million Filipinos across 130,000 outlets all over the country.

To all the fathers out there, may you all have a Happy Father’s Day!

For more information on franchising, contact Francorp Philippines at (02) 638-3149, email info[at]francorp.com.ph, or visit francorp.com.ph.

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