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Breaking In

Program helps African-Americans become franchisors.

Being a franchisor is where the true economic power is," says Robert E. Kushell, founder and CEO of Kushell Associates Inc., a Pittsboro, North Carolina, franchise development consulting firm.

It's this simple idea that's at the heart of Kushell Associates' new program of seminars aimed at African-American business owners. Kushell's free seminars provide data on the franchising industry as well as how to tell if your business lends itself to franchising. Past seminars have featured such speakers as Calvin Johnson of the International Franchise Association and Woody McCutchen, executive director of the Small Business Development Center at Howard University in Washington, DC.

Kushell has targeted his program at the African-American business community because, despite years of experience within the franchising industry, he has only encountered one African-American-owned regional or national franchise system. "There's no shortage of African-American franchisees, some of whom are enormously successful," Kushell says. "But for some reason, the bridge between a successful business [owner] and one who [uses] franchising as a vehicle for expansion has never been built." The hope is that after receiving the right information, African-American entrepreneurs will be able to make that leap. "I see a great opportunity," says Kushell.

The seminars are being offered in North Carolina, particularly in the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill triangle.

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This article was originally published in the March 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Breaking In.

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