It was a financially fulfilling job, but Noel Siggaoat chose to grow brands in his home country.
Imagine having all the best the world has to offer in the city of endless possibilities. Living the life that many can only dream about as well as enjoying a lucrative career in one of the most exciting cities to work for was a reality for Noel Siggaoat, managing director of Francorp Philippines.
Right after completing his MBA from the Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, USA, Siggaoat worked as a financial systems consultant in New York City, helping treasury departments of client banks understand their exposure to different types of risks—interest rates, currency exchange, counterparty, and many others—and managing their portfolios accordingly. He was at the top of his game, financially well-situated, and living comfortably in the famed city that never sleeps. But he moved back to the Philippines to fulfill a personal mission that proved to be beneficial not just to many other people, but to the entire country.
Pursuing a self-fulfilling mission
“In spite of the financial rewards and the privilege of working in NYC, there was this gap between what I was doing at that time and what I felt I needed to do,” he says. “An inner voice was telling me that I should be using my skills to help out in my own country instead of helping out US and European banks who were already rich, making successful financial institutions become even richer."
It was not an easy decision to make when you’re at the prime of your career, in New York City no less, but inner voices are usually difficult to ignore, especially when it reverberates a greater purpose. Siggaoat recognized that it was time to heed the call and fulfill a mission to contribute to the Philippine economy in his own small way.
“When the opportunity to bring Francorp to the Philippines with founders Samie Lim, Bing Limjoco and Manny Siggaoat came along, I saw the perfect opportunity to give back to my country and pursue a profession that enables me to help small and medium businesses grow through franchising, to make entrepreneurs out of franchisees, and to create job opportunities through it,” he adds.
Establishing Francorp: Reshaping the franchise industry
Francorp is the global leader in franchise development and consulting. The company has helped develop over 3,000 franchise businesses and has assisted more than 10,000 companies worldwide in their franchise expansion. Siggaoat, together with other executives of Francorp Philippines, underwent months of trainings at Francorp Headquarters in Chicago under founder Don Boroian, a well-respected pioneer in the field of franchising in the US.
Upon returning to the Philippines, it took some time before the market recognized and accepted the services of the company. Early on, the team was faced with challenges and part of it was educating the market about franchising.
“It was a challenge for Francorp to educate the market that yes, franchising is a simple concept, but there are many layers involved in a franchise program that require expertise in different fields—strategy, finance, legal, operations, marketing, and sales,” Siggaoat explains. “It takes more than a franchise agreement to prepare a company for franchising. In reality, it requires a lot of planning, analysis, and transformation. A true shift in business mindset was necessary.
“Francorp had to reintroduce franchising as a growth model and help companies understand that franchising is far from a simple endeavour that could be learned by reading an article or copying the franchise offering of another company as most companies that ventured into it in the early days assumed it to be,” he adds.
Stories of franchise successes
From one to many, Siggaoat witnessed and contributed to the successful growth of Philippine companies in food and retailing through Francorp’s initiative and hard work in developing the franchise landscape in the country. To date, Francorp Philippines has helped over 600 local companies all over the country, created about 20,000 entrepreneur-franchisees, and generated employment for about 400,000 Filipinos.
Established businesses have experienced exponential growth after partnering with Francorp, including Max’s, Bench, Penshoppe, Tokyo Tokyo, and Goldilocks, while startup businesses like Potato Corner, Citrus Zone, Farron Café, and Turks Shawarma have evolved from being small and local to being the strong leading brands they are today. Many have even conquered international territories after gaining franchise experience locally and a number of international brands have acculturated successfully through Francorp’s customized franchise program for the local market.
Receiving the Franchise Excellence Hall of Fame Award-Francorp PH Managing Director Noel Siggaoat (4th Left) with Francorp PH Chief Marketing Officer Sam Christopher Lim (4th right)
One of the notable stories of successes that Siggaoat recalls is that of Bo’s Coffee, which has now started its expansion abroad by opening in the Middle East. When Bo’s started working with Francorp, they were a start-up Cebu player taking on the challenge of expanding despite the presence of more established coffee brands in Metro Manila. “Today, Bo’s Coffee is not only the premier homegrown coffee brand, it is holding its own against the international coffee brands that have entered the Philippines,” he proudly shares.
The story of The Generics Pharmacy (TGP) which has grown from one to 2,000 branches in a span of eight years was another remarkable success worth mentioning. TGP launched their franchise program when generics-only pharmacies were just beginning to enter the market. He added that Francorp took on TGP because it had a strong selling proposition: its selling prices were a quarter to half of their branded medicine counterparts, yet still maintained very good product margins.
“I am humbled to be able to witness and contribute in part to the successes of these companies through Francorp. It is a privilege to co-pilot as these brands took off, to help them in their journey, and to see them reach their desired growth destinations,” Siggaoat says.
Continuing the advocacy
For more than 20 years in franchise consultancy, Siggaoat has been passionately advocating for franchising as a great equalizer by providing growth opportunities for both startups and established brands.
“In franchising, each brand gets an equal playing field to grow from one to hundreds, if not thousands,” he explains. “It’s not about having lots of capital to grow, it’s having a successful product or service that customers will come to you for, and a successful business that people would want to be part of.”
“At Francorp, we have played a direct role in helping hundreds of businesses grow from one to many. We have seen thousands of people achieve their dreams of being entrepreneurs by becoming franchisees. And these franchisees have employed hundreds of thousands of workers.
Siggaoat recognizes how franchising has significantly impacted the economy by growing brands, multiplying businesses, and creating thousands of jobs. He knows that walking away from being an executive in the Big Apple to creating franchise success stories in the Philippines proved to be the right decision.
“We have gone far but we are not done,” he says. “Doing good for the greatest number of people through franchising is an advocacy we will never tire of pursuing.”