Abu Dhabi: The GCC’s first franchise association, the UAE Franchise Development Association, was launched on Tuesday as an independent entity aiming to expand the franchise base in various industries including services, tourism, education, and health care, among others.

The announcement came from Ebrahim Al Mahmoud, first deputy chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, who was speaking at the second Franchise International Conference and Exhibition in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

“Launching this pioneering establishment comes within the awareness and strategy of the Abu Dhabi Chamber to set up formal frameworks, lay down a comprehensive set of rules and regulations to regulate franchising businesses in the UAE,” he said in a statement.

On the sideline of the conference, the Abu Dhabi Chamber signed memorandums of understanding with the British Franchise Association, and the Franchising and Licensing Association in Singapore, as per the statement. The memorandums aim to develop the franchise sector in Abu Dhabi, and create new investment opportunities for young Emirati entrepreneurs.

The first day of the conference also included sessions on how to plan to take a franchise, best practices in choosing a franchise, key factors of success, and key points to know about the franchise agreement, among others.

The two-day conference saw the participation of nearly 500 people from 17 countries. It aims to spread the culture of free commercial businesses, and encourage young Emiratis to start their franchise projects.

The exhibition running alongside the conference saw the participation of 160 companies displaying their products and services before businessmen and interested companies in the UAE.