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Struck With Inspiration

Getting kids fired up about franchising

When you were in high school, what did you want to be? An astronaut? A ballerina? How about a franchisee? Thanks to a grant from the PepsiCo Foundation, the International Franchise Association is creating the Franchising Entrepreneurship Program to teach inner-city and minority students about opportunities in franchising.

"The idea is to target urban youth, mainly minorities, to develop education and training programs that teach entrepreneurial skills, drawing on franchising business methods and experiences," explains John Reynolds, president of the IFA's Educational Foundation, the implementor of the new program.

Working with community organizations like Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), the IFA will incorporate franchise curricula into existing programs. "The first stage is like a pilot program, in which we cooperate with other organizations already working with high school kids in the community. We want to tap their expertise, to develop educational programs and curricula," Reynolds says.

After learning about franchising through both in-class and after-school training, participants can then gain real-world business experience as interns in either corporate or franchise locations.

Though the program is still in the planning stages, with a scheduled spring launch, those involved already have high hopes. "The next Ray Kroc may be out there, just waiting for the right opportunity for someone to say, 'Here's the way you do it.' " says Reynolds. "This is a way to invest in young people who have the potential to be future entrepreneurs and contribute to society."


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This article was originally published in the October 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Struck With Inspiration.

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