) -- The inability to find funding, whether for a start-ups or a business looking to expand, is the primary reason potential franchisees are refused a license to operate.

is a new tool that seeks to fill that gap by creating what is essentially a dating site for entrepreneurs. The site, launched in June, is a virtual community where franchisees can find people willing to invest in and operate a franchise together. creates a community the helps you find business partners.

The site has another element: Franchisors can partner with it to create a so-called closed community in which there is more control over who partners. The franchisor acts more as a gatekeeper in this instance.

Darwin Ramon, the site's founder, explains how the site works and makes a few suggestions on how to best find a long-term partner:

Why partner to own a franchise?


Usually when you launch a business there is an overwhelming amount of work. If you have another person involved, two individuals can do more so you get a boost of productivity.

The investment

in a franchise is huge. Before you actually make a profit, all of this money is required. It's usually not within the budget of one single person.

A partner is not only somebody who can bring money -- you can partner with someone who has a lot of experience or is willing to work certain hours. You can have many arrangements that complement your end.

What should franchisees be able to come to the table with before they even start their search?


They need to search for a franchise. It seems obvious: You may like


(SBUX) - Get Report

and therefore want to own one, but when you start looking you can see which other franchises offer the same services as Starbucks. Maybe the person didn't want a


, maybe they wanted

a coffee shop franchise


There is no easy answer to finding a partner. What is more important is that you know what you are getting into. If you like coffee, that doesn't mean you should get a coffee shop franchise because coffee is interacting with people. Do you like interacting?

It may mean that you end up with a franchise that's different than what you first had in mind. The way the site is -- you can offer your profile first in different franchises. Keep your doors open to more possibilities and let other people know what interests you.

Discover your passions and finding what business is compatible with your passion. That is the most important thing to find.

What are some things to keep in mind when searching for a partner?


The most basic thing is to

find one compatible with you at a personal level, because you need to have the same

goals. The second most important is for that person to complement what you are missing.

What the potential risks?


You're meeting with somebody that is not someone you know. There are many ways to get taken advantage of.

How does it work?


You create the profile and in the profile you put your interests, objectives and how much you have available to invest. When you start searching for a partner you can search by franchise or by local area.

Publishing your profile and first interest is free, but

after that for each added interest we charge $2 for two months to have that in your personal profile. Users can have up to 10 interests on a profile.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to:!/LKulikowski

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