Global Business Development

Our company is expanding our customer base

After 15 years focusing on exporting U.S. franchise companies, EGS is expanding our portfolio to include market research, trend analysis, and project management for rapidly growing companies in other sectors and countries with companies who are seeking to increase stakeholder value by going global. We are taking on an increased role with private equity companies seeking to acquire franchise brands or evaluate the global potential of those they already own.

Our U.S.-based team has lived in 15 countries and worked on projects in more than 70 countries. Our GlobalTeam™ is based in 40+ countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. We have hands-on experience operating companies in other countries.

Our Trademarked Business Tools Apply Across Many Business Sectors

GlobalVue™ – economic, political and operations country analysis 
GlobalSurvey™- brand country priority analysis
LicensePro™ – brand country financial and development modeling
GlobalAssess™ – define a company’s readiness to go global and prioritize countries

Our Specialties

  • Business and personal country culture analysis
  • International project planning, development and management
  • Operations support and monitoring in-country
  • Licensee and partner identification, evaluation and negotiation services
  • Brand and business sector analysis by country and region
  • Supply chain resources and analysis
  • Company due diligence and analysis
  • Global business, economic and political research, and analysis
  • F&B, retail, fitness, oil and gas, and service sector experience
  • Franchise evaluation for private equity groups
  • Evaluation of a company’s global potential based on proven processes

For further information on how we might help your company realize its full global potential, contact William Edwards on +1 949 224 3896 or at

An Update on Countries as Places to Do Business in 2018

Our company conducts country and regional market analysis for our clients who are considering what countries to take their business into. We tap into more than 25 international information sources and the real-time knowledge of our GlobalTeam™ members on the ground in 43 countries. Here are some snippets from our recent research in key countries at the start of the second quarter of 2018.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts 3.7% global growth for 2018, the highest level in 10 years. While risks to global growth include political meltdowns, economic disasters, wars and unrest, investment risk, and intellectual property concerns, economic growth is robust in many parts of the world.

The Americas

Argentina – After 20+ years in the economic, exchange rate, and political wilderness, the Latin American & Caribbean Director of The Economist Intelligence Unit noted in a recent webinar that Argentina is now in a new period of extended, stable economic growth. Structural reforms, business friendly policies, less regulations, higher levels of direct foreign investment; dropping interest rates and efforts to lower the public deficit have resulted in an expected level of GDP growth of about 3% over the next few years.

Brazil – For the past five years the economy has stalled, inflation has been high, and there have been numerous government and corruption problems. A recent Wall Street Journal article (March 1, 2018) stated, “Brazil’s economy returned to growth in 2017 (1.0%) after two years of contraction . . . Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2017 from the same period a year earlier. Economist magazine expects Brazil to grow 2.6% this year and 2.8% in 2019. This will mean new investment opportunities.

Peru – GDP growth is expected to be 3.9% in 2018. This has been the fastest growing economy in Latin America for many years. The government is pro new business creation because this means new and better jobs for their people.

Asia Pacific

China – The Chinese consumer economy is growing at over 8% per year. The middle class is approaching 300 million people. There are 160 cities with a population of more than 1,000,000 people. In 2016, Shanghai and the two adjacent provinces had a combined GDP of that of Italy and Mexico combined. Today’s Chinese consumers want the quality, brand, convenience and service associated with Western brands.

As excellent example of the spending Chinese middle class consumer is the fact that in 1990 less than 1 million Chinese took a commercial airline flight. In 2017 over 600 million Chinese flew a commercial airline flight.

Indonesia – The world’s fourth most populous nation is experiencing a rapid expansion in the middle class, which includes over 30 million households.  Like many other Asian countries, the middle class in Indonesia is characterized not only by their purchasing power, but also their generally higher levels of skills and education.

Japan – Although Japan has an expected GDP growth rate of 1.5% in 2018, this is up considerably from past years. There has been a transformation of Japanese consumer spending patterns in recent years. Consumers are spending money on physical experiences rather than purchasing tangible goods and products.

The Philippines – Growth in disposable income has resulted in a more comfortable and better lifestyle. This has contributed to the growing sophistication of consumers across age, income and gender groups. A very strong acceptance of social media allows businesses to connect with the young middle class consumer.


2017 was Europe’s strongest year of economic expansion in over a decade, with average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 2.5%. In 2018, Ireland is expected to lead the pack with GDP growth of 4.1%, with estimated growth rates of 2.4% in Germany and even 2.1% in France which is its best performance in years. While 2018 will feature a great deal of political melodrama as negotiations between the EU and United Kingdom occupy headlines, the economies of this region are moving ahead strongly and this is good news for new franchise development. Consumer confidence is the highest it has been in decades and average unemployment is at a nine-year low.

Italy – The expected relatively low 2018 GDP growth rate of 1.5% is offset by increased business investment and significant household consumption. Most of the new investment in 2018 will be in the north centered around Milan.

Poland – Economic growth remains strong. Rising social transfers and a booming labor market are underpinning rapid consumption growth. The unemployment rate is at a record low level, labor shortages are spreading, and there are early signs of accelerating wages. The labor market is expected to tighten further, leading to somewhat faster wage and price inflation.

Spain – With 2018 GDP growth estimated at 2.7%, Spain is benefiting from a dynamic economy, record levels of tourism, rapidly declining unemployment, and domestic consumption and new business investment.

Middle and Near East

United Arab Emirates – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects GDP to recover from recent oil and gas price woes to grow at 3.4% in 2018. The UAE has three major consumer types: (1) the local Emiratis (about 400,000); the ex-pat foreigners who work at the regional headquarters of international companies; and the high number of tourists who come to the UAE because it is a regional vacation and shopping opportunity.

India – This country is set to be the fastest growing economy in the world again in 2018. The World Bank says India’s growth is expected to be over 7% in 2018, overtaking China. The World Bank believes strong private consumption and services are expected to continue to support economic activity. Exports for the last month that data is available rose 30% year over year. The Purchasing Managers’ Index expanded the fastest it has in five years. At least one international ratings agency has upgraded India’s credit rating.

For further information on how we might help your company realize its full global potential, contact William Edwards on +1 949 224 3896 or at

The Fastest 2 Minutes in International Franchising

Our GlobalTeam™ of highly experienced international specialists in the USA and on the ground in 32 countries contributed to this summary of today’s world business opportunities. Countries to watch for excellent business development opportunities in 2017: the Philippines, the UAE, Spain and Poland.

Download a PDF »

Asia China
The Philippines
Viet Nam
Consumer economy growing at over 8% per year
Corporations are seeking consumer investments
Political and currency unrest
Many new US international businesses opening
Starting a comeback from post-coup recession
6%+ GDP growth, USA franchises desired
Americas Argentina
Dramatic change, new government, improving economy
Economy, stalled, inflation up, government problems
New tax-focused government
Government regulations increased
Uneven growth, low new investment
Post US election new investment stoppage
New pro-business government, US brand friendly
Renewed business confidence: lower taxes, regulations
Europe Ireland
United Kingdom
Good GDP growth, slow to see new investment
Difficult to find investors for foreign brands
Highest EU GDP growth
Not now!!!
Recovery speeding up, heavy new investment
Political unrest and terrorism = no new investment
BREXIT & election fallout slowing new investment
Middle East Egypt
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
Security and hard currency problems
Difficult to get new businesses open once built
New US brands entering, strong new investment
Elsewhere Australia
New Zealand
South Africa
Challenge to find investors for foreign brands
Challenge to find licensees who follow system
Few consumers, but pro foreign brands
High unemployment (25%), low new investment


Keeping ahead of the wars, economic meltdowns, and political disasters

One of our jobs for our U.S. clients is to look two to three years ahead, figure out where wars will raging, where economic meltdowns will be occurring, and where political disasters are looming – then take our clients elsewhere!
The key to successful international business is constant monitoring of the economies around the world and being ready to move quickly to higher potential and calmer countries.

Why do we need to do all this? Our company exports U.S. franchise brands.

We act as an outsourced international development department for brands such as Build-A- Bear Workshop®, Denny’s®, International Dairy Queen, Lawry’s® The Prime Rib, Massage Heights®, Everlast Fitness® and Mosquito Squad®. One of our primary tasks is helping the brands prioritize the countries they enter, focusing on countries that have the highest ROI potential for the specific brand.

Recently, the CEO of one of the brands we work with told me that our job was to look two to three years ahead, figure out where the wars will be and take them elsewhere.

It turns out this is just a little bit funny – while at the same time being quite serious.

I would restate this to looking two to three years ahead not only to determine the potential for war, but also the potential for economic meltdowns and political disasters.

This is important due to the fact that it can take two to three years to find and sign a country licensee, and then another one to two years to get the first unit of the franchise open in a country.

How do we do this? Research, research and more research.

We subscribe to 25 international business data and analysis sources. We have team members on the ground in 32 countries. And our US-based executive team collectively has 120 years of international experience living and working in over 69 countries. We have a full time Director of Research who monitors our sources and watches for trends.

That being said, there are still ‘exciting’ events that change the potential for finding investors in a target country that are ready and willing to make the new investment required to acquire the license of one of our U.S. franchise brands.

Two examples are the recent United Kingdom Brexit vote and the disintegration of Turkey as a place to do business.

No one really thought about what the consequences of actually voting to leave the European Union would be. Now we are beginning to see consequences – and all is not good. Where were the adults when this was happening?

I lived in Turkey in the mid 1980s and it was a great place to reside and to work. It was the world’s only secular, Muslim democracy. Turkey had a female Supreme Court judge before the USA, and a female Prime Minister in the 1990s. Over the past 10 years, things have gradually changed, and now Turkey is no longer secular and it is not really a democracy. The Ottoman Sultan seems to have returned after 100 years. The rapid GDP growth rate is being replaced with the rapid growth of inflation. In recent weeks, inward investment has stopped, and Turkish business people are not making any new investments. Our company has closed our office in Istanbul.

On the other side of the coin is Argentina. For several decades this country has been run by poor governments that defaulted on international loans and paid foreign franchisors their royalties in soy beans. Early in 2016 a new and radically different government came into power. In a matter of a few months they settled the long standing debt problem and made the local currency float free against the dollar. New inward investment is staggering as this first world country with a highly educated population is starved for new products, services and brands. We have started marketing U.S. franchise brands in Argentina for the first time since the mid 1990s. As a local business person told me, “The U.S. dollars have come out of the Argentinean mattresses for the first time in decades.”

At the end of the day we have learned that constant research is key to looking ahead. We have also learned that there will always be surprises. The key to successful international business is constant monitoring of the economies around the world and being ready to move quickly to higher potential and calmer countries.

EGS publishes research projects related to global business development, most notably the GlobalVue™ franchise country ranking, which has been published quarterly since 2001. The latest version of this country ranking tool can be downloaded at the following link: EGS-Dual-GlobalVue-0716.pdf

William Edwards, CEO of Edwards Global Services, Inc., has 40 years of international business experience. He has lived in 7 countries, worked on projects in more than 60, and has advised more than 50 U.S. companies on international development. Contact him at +1 949 375 1896,, or read his blog at

A version of this blog first appeared In the Fall 2016 edition of the International Executive Resources Group (IERG) Fall 2016 ‘IERG Connect’ newsletter.

Traveling On Business In China And The Great China Firewall

What do Dropbox, Southwest Airlines,, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Gmail and the New York Times have in common?

Their websites are all blocked in Mainland China. This means no Google mail and no access to cloud based files for many of the standard sources we in the West use today. However, WeTransfer seems to work fine for file transfer. Microsoft Outlook also works, most of the time.

No, but is available. Southwest Airlines? Who knew they were a problem? In Hong Kong and Taiwan none of these websites are blocked.

Often before a Western website will fully load there is a delay as the Great China Firewall decides if the content is forbidden. If there has been an article that is negative to China you can also expect ‘The Economist’, the ‘Wall Street Journal’ and ‘Financial Times’ websites to be blocked. Usually this is only for a few days.

I have just returned from two weeks in Taipei, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu and Hong Kong on business for three of the US franchises that our company represents around the world.

The good news is that high speed bandwidth Internet is available in major cities in Mainland China. And there is typically no charge for Internet at the major hotel chains. That is not the case in the USA where several large hotel chains still charge high prices for Internet access. And in the USA the bandwidth at such hotels can be ‘iffy’.

The Great China Firewall is alive and prospering. But manageable.

A Global Franchising Update for Selected Countries

Our company, Edwards Global Services, Inc., is honored to work with some of the very best U.S. franchisors to take them global.

We closely monitor consumer spending in over 50 countries as consumers are the target market for the U.S. franchise brands we represent. Often media reports look at a country’s economy from the macro or 30,000 foot perspective. We look at a country’s economic activity from about 50 feet: what is the consumer doing and are they spending?

Here are a few updates on our clients’ recent and planned international openings, plus, an update on a ‘new’ or ‘reawakened’ market: Argentina.

Argentina – For decades, this European-style country has experienced political and economic challenges. After only a few months in power, Argentina’s new government has already taken significant steps to address the country’s economic problems. Argentine President Mauricio Macri has removed export taxes for agricultural products, slowed the printing of pesos, abolished most currency controls, and taken steps to remove subsidies on electricity, food and natural gas.

He has removed export tariffs on beef, soybeans, wheat, and corn, giving exporters greater leeway to sell their products abroad. Macri also plans to eliminate subsidies on electricity, food, and natural gas, thereby reversing the inefficiencies that have burdened Argentina’s economy in previous years. (“Argentina’s New President Lays the Groundwork for a Better Economy”, Stratfor, January 19, 2016)

Argentina was a strong franchise market in the past, and we are beginning to see interest by U.S. franchisors in re-entering this large, well educated, and sophisticated market in Latin America.

Italy – While Italy is considered a slow growing market in the European Union, with significant economic challenges, there are opportunities for new consumer brands in certain sectors. Burgers are one of those sectors. Just over a year ago, Fuddruckers® burger brand opened its first European location in Milan, Italy. Today there are two locations in Milan and a new location in Warsaw, Poland. Europe loves Fuddruckers’ burgers and wings!

Near Milan

Near Milan, Italy

Japan – This is generally considered a slow growth country that has been slow for several decades. That is not true in the consumer sector, and certainly not in the burger sector, where several U.S. brands have entered recently to challenge McDonald’s 3,000 unit monopoly. Carl’s Jr.® recently announced the opening of its first restaurant in Tokyo. In this photo, Ned Lyerle, President of CKE Restaurants International, is on the right, along with our company’s Japan Associate, Ichiro (Roy) Fujita.

Carl’s Jr.®

Carl’s Jr.®

Philippines – In December 2015 it was announced that Denny’s® has signed a license agreement with the Bistro Group, who also is the Philippines licensee for TGI Friday’s® and Buffalo Wild Wings®. The first Denny’s® restaurant in the Philippines will open in Manila in mid-2016. The Philippine economy is expected to grow at 6.5% in 2016. U.S. food franchise brands are greatly desired.


Poland – This is the one country in Europe where GDP growth did not turn negative between 2008-2012. This year the country’s economy is expected to grow at 3.1%, the highest in the European Union. This is driven almost entirely by consumer spending.

International Dairy Queen entered Europe last year. This 75-year old brand, with 6,500 stores in 28 countries, now has three stores in Warsaw. Yes, the iconic Blizzard® is present in Poland and selling well, even in the winter!

International Dairy Queen

International Dairy Queen

Turkey – Two years ago, Build-A-Bear Workshop®, the world’s largest children’s entertainment retail brand, opened its first store in Istanbul. Today there are three stores in Istanbul and one in Ankara. Turkish families love to spend money on their kids and Build-A-Bear Workshop® helps!

Build-A-Bear Workshop®

Build-A-Bear Workshop®

United Arab Emirates – The UAE continues to see annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in excess of 3% per year. Dubai is the center of tourism and financial business in the region. New U.S. food brands are continuing to enter this lucrative market.

In December 2015, Denny’s® opened its first restaurants in the Middle East in Dubai. In this picture are John Miller, the CEO of Denny’s®, and Steve Dunn, The Denny’s® Global Chief Development Officer.



Vietnam – With a GDP annual growth rate of over 6% and a very fast growing middle class consumer market, Vietnam is one of the top developing markets in Asia. U.S. franchise brands are highly desired. Recently our company finalized the country license for PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans® to open 10 or more high end coffee shops in Vietnam over the next 5-7 years. Vietnamese are very big coffee drinkers and love the social aspects of meeting for coffee and pastries with their friends.

PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans

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