Nearing its 20th year in the country, Francorp, or the International Franchise Corporation of the Philippines, has successfully transferred the reins of management to a new breed of young professionals who, like the founders, share the passion of upholding franchising as a key player in advancing business in this part of Asia.
In 1996, when founding fathers, Samie Lim and Manny Siggaoat, and mother of Philippine franchising, Bing Sibal Limjoco, established Francorp after returning from the United States where they learned the rudiments of franchising from their guru Don Boroian of Francorp USA, they were filled with great hopes that franchising will be the solution to growing businesses faster from one to many, with lesser capital on the part of the franchisor, and use of other people’s expertise, which in this case is the franchisee partner. With a proven business model that was to be replicated by their franchisees and a success rate of 90% if the system was followed, many brand owners were expertly advised by Francorp that franchising can be their route to success.
Two decades after and more than 300 brands assisted in different stages of their development, Francorp’s founders are ready to pass the baton. The transition has been smooth because the equity of this franchise consultancy business and the responsibilities attached to it were readily embraced by the scions, Sam Christopher “Chris” T. Lim, and Manuel “Noel” V. Siggaoat Jr., as well as the career manager who experienced the consultancy company’s rise to its position of leadership in this industry, Joselito “Lito” G. Samson.
With these three holding the reins, but still guided by the visionary Samie Lim, the retired but quiet inspiration Manny Siggaoat, the indefatigable Bing Limjoco, and supported by the team of dedicated consultants and staff, Francorp is brightly looking forward to the decades ahead when franchising will still be a prime contributor to economic growth.
A whiff of fresh air wafted through Francorp when the Father of Philippine franchising, Samie Lim, sent his son, Sam Christopher, to head Marketing and Strategy. In a business world that’s changing so fast, Francorp must keep in step. The inputs, therefore, of one so abreast in global trends come at a most opportune time. And it also helps that he is a millennial, technology savvy, and in touch with what’s up-to-date in places that matter. His stints as senior global brand manager for the Unilever offices in Bangkok, Shanghai, and London have given him the valuable marketing experience he needs to raise the bar at Francorp.
Chris Lim’s academic background is just as stellar. After earning the highest award in Management Engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University, he went on to the National University of Singapore, and finally, to Oxford University in England where he graduated with distinction. While earning his post graduate diploma in Strategy and Innovation, he was also awarded the Young Market Masters Award.
Chris says that “having lived abroad for over a decade, I’m convinced that Philippine brands can compete internationally, but what we need is to make sure we have strong systems in place, invest in professional branding, and have a clear franchise entry strategy.” That’s why, concurrent with his Francorp position, he is also president of U-Franchise Sales and Management Inc. where he helps connect franchisors with franchisees both locally and internationally. In addition, he is also a Director in A.S. Louken Philippines, an international branding consultant that has helped brands such as Bread Talk and Charles & Keith gain international prominence. And to continue pushing brands to grow through franchising both in the Philippines and across ASEAN, he is chairperson for ASEAN Integration at the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) where he is very active in promoting the Nextgen Program.
Noel Siggaoat heads the consultancy team. With emphasis on franchise strategy, he leads development work for Francorp clients which entails diverse areas of franchise finance, strategy, operations, marketing, and sales. Noel learned the ropes in franchising from the founder and Chairman of Francorp USA himself, Don Boroian, whom he trained under at Francorp’s worldwide headquarters near Chicago, Illinois.
A Certified Franchise Executive, Noel earned his MBA degree from Carnegie Mellon University, one of the top American universities for business and technology. Soon after his masters, he went to New York City where he joined firms such as the Union Bank of Switzerland and Exis Consulting. Prior to graduate school, Noel worked as a management consultant for the SGV Management Services group in Manila. He obtained his IndustrialManagement Engineering degree fromDe La Salle University where he was a consistent Dean’s Lister and a Gold Medal recipient for Best Thesis in IME.
Noel says, “It’s very rewarding to help small companies break through and transform from being a start-up business into a national chain through the power of franchising. Small companies are able to leverage other people’s money, time, and personnel to compete with the bigger players. Part of the reason I came back from a lucrative career in the U.S. was to do my share in helping the Philippine economy grow. Franchising allows me to achieve this because of its multiplier effect; it helps companies grow quickly and successfully, and in the process creates many entrepreneurs – franterpreneurs (franchisee-entrepreneurs), who then employ thousands of workers. That gives me a great sense of fulfillment!”
He is excited about the next frontier of Philippine franchises: International Franchising. Through his guidance, Francorp has already assisted a few homegrown companies break into the international scene. “In the next few years, instead of Filipino OFWs, we will be exporting more and more Philippine businesses because of franchising”, Noel claims proudly.
His idea of relaxation revolves around sports and fitness. A former varsity football player at DLSU, Noel is currently into endurance sports. As a runner and triathlete, he has completed grueling marathons and Ironman races.
A Certified Franchise Executive and Serv Safe Executive, Lito Samson is behind the franchise programs of most of Francorp’s clients in the food, retail, and service industries. Trusted by management and clients alike, Lito travels the Philippines to ensure that business owners nationwide who engage Francorp’s expertise get the best personalized and customized service when it comes to documenting their operations. His goal is to come up with a viable operations manual, a necessary component of an honest-to goodness franchise system.
He is the go-to person whenever franchise operations is concerned because he is backed up by a solid 25 years of experience honed by work stints, first, in McDonald’s, where he attended Hamburger University in Australia. Later, he was store and training manager for companies like Carl’s Jr. and Jollibee. He also worked for a Japanese restaurant and was the Profit Center Manager for the Burger Machine chain, handling 70 to 100 outlets in various Metro Manila locations. At Francorp, since 2005, he spearheaded prime projects for operations manual development and services, and has guided many of our top clients in the field of quick-service food, retail, and service.
Being one of Francorp’s top speakers on franchising, he represents the company as a resource person in various local and international conferences and trade shows. Because his travels have given him a grasp of the developments of franchising abroad and in the country, he hopes to see Francorp play a stronger role in the industry and eventually, be a major player in ASEAN franchise consultancy services. Lito says, “Francorp can provide the services that can answer the demands of the growing ASEAN market. Hopefully, we evolve to become the preferred franchise developer in ASEAN.”
Sharing an interesting observation, Lito states that “franchising in the Philippines is maturing in the sense that franchisors now are more careful in building and strengthening their franchise support systems, as well as having a more stringent franchise recruitment process. Franchisors understand the value of investing in the “right franchisee”. They have come to realize that by doing so they will have better operations and improved earning potentials which are, in the long run, good for their brand.” On the franchisee side, Lito says “franchise investors are more conscious of the long term aspects of the offering such as Return on Investment (ROI), franchise terms, and the potentials for investing in additional units.” Another positive development he cites is the presence of a growing crop of “professional franchisees” or businessmen who invest and operate several franchise units and/or brands.
When on a break from work, Lito unwinds with his hobby – photography. He is a devoted dad to 2 teenagers, a daughter and son.
Francorp Philippines has developed over 400 franchise brands in the Philippines, and continues to deliver international level franchise development standards across the Philippines. It is a one-stop shop franchise development consultant that helps business develop franchise business strategies, operations development, franchise legal agreements, and franchise marketing & sales strategies. Learn How to Franchise your Business in our monthly seminar, or take a franchise test to see if your business is ready to franchise