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Sherry McNeil

President & CEO, The Canadian Franchise Association

When it comes to the numbers, the strength of the franchising industry in Canada is evident. It’s worth nearly $100 billion to the Canadian economy, employing almost 2 million people across 50 different industries. But despite the key role it plays in the economic health of the country, franchising is not always well understood.

Sherry McNeil, President and CEO of the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA), is determined to change that. “The CFA is committed to providing education about franchising,” she says. “It represents so many opportunities for everyday Canadians who want to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves.”

A community of support

Franchisees buy into the power of a brand, its recognition, and efficient operating systems covering key factors like step-by-step procedures and inventory management. Because the franchisor — the company licensing its name and expertise for a fee — has already navigated the intricacies of their business, ironed out the bumps, and developed best practices, franchisees are equipped with a plan for success.

[Franchising] represents so many opportunities for everyday Canadians who want to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves.

Sherry McNeil, CFA President & CEO

“A franchise is perfect for anyone who dreams of owning a business but is nervous about starting it on their own,” notes McNeil. “If they follow the franchisor’s process, they’ll have more of an opportunity to be successful. Franchising helps mitigate risks because franchise owners are provided with support along the way.”

When people think of franchising, they often associate it with large fast food outlets. While about 40% of franchises are food-related, the other 60% represent more than 50 other segments. As McNeil points out, average consumers encounter three to five types of franchises per day — perhaps where they grab a coffee, get a haircut, or buy pet food. “Franchises are incredibly diverse,” she emphasizes. They range from home-based businesses to large brick-and-mortar operations, with those related to cannabis, fitness, and senior care on the rise.

Discover your path

To find the right business, McNeil recommends drilling down on the type of companies that align best with your interests, skills, and financial resources. Prospective franchisees can refer to the CFA’s Franchise Canada magazine or its websites for information and attend the organization’s annual trade shows to network with successful franchisors and experts on topics like real estate and franchise law.

“The future of franchising is very bright in Canada,” says McNeil. “It’s thriving, flourishing, and poised to go from the 12th largest industry to the 11th as growth continues. Becoming a franchisee gives people the chance to own the business they’ve always dreamed of and to be successful at it.”

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