Many officials view franchises and small businesses as a key to economic recovery, and the Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayor's (USCM) Franchising and Small Business in Cities (FSBC) Task Force aims to educate city officials on ways to promote their growth. The task force held its first meeting during USCM's Winter Meeting, Jan. 17-19, and task force members plan to attend the Washington-based International Franchise Association's (IFA) next meeting in San Diego on Feb. 14-17.

Franchised businesses provided more than 11 million jobs in 2007, said Trenton, N.J., Mayor and past USCM President Douglas Palmer, who heads the FSBC Task Force. "My goal is to help us mayors better understand the franchise business world and what it takes to get them started in our communities," Palmer wrote in an article aimed at encouraging mayors to join the task force.

IFA President and CEO Matthew Shay hailed the task force as a sign that mayors "value the economic output that franchise business contribute to local economies." "Data show that the franchising industry outpaces many other sectors in terms of creating new business, new jobs and more economic output, even during tough economic times," Shay said in a statement.

View more information on the FSBC Task Force on USCM's Web site.

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