How Veterans Can Get Started in Franchising Today Through IFA's VetFran Program
While Veterans Day serves as a powerful reminder, one day is insufficient to capture the impact that these individuals have on the liberties we enjoy year-round. IFA and our members are working to help veterans transition to civilian life and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
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Few things in the American spirit are so salient as the reverence we have for our nation's veterans. No matter where we are in our lives, it is important to pause and solemnly honor the service and self-sacrifice of our brave men and women who've served our country. While Veterans Day serves as a powerful reminder, one day is insufficient to capture the impact that these individuals have on the liberties we enjoy year-round.
Providing support to America's veterans is an integral part of the International Franchise Association (IFA) and the IFA Foundation mission. Aimed at achieving this, over 30 years ago, the IFA Foundation established the VetFran program to help veterans with their transition to civilian life by connecting them with opportunities in franchising. Through VetFran and the Open for Opportunity campaign today, IFA continues to carry out this mission while also helping franchisors recognize the value and benefit of having a veteran on their team.
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VetFran's work is foundational to the work of IFA, partnering with other organizations, member brands, and government agencies to eliminate barriers to entry for veterans in entrepreneurship and franchising. The results are proven – franchising is an excellent match for entrepreneurs with military service, resulting in 14% of all franchisees in the U.S. having served in the military – yet they only make up 7% of the general population. In fact, 97% of surveyed franchisors think veterans make excellent franchisees. This strong connection results from the fact that military service instills leadership training, hard work and discipline, and an ability to maneuver set operations and procedures – all essential elements to success as a franchise business owner. Through VetFran and their own internal programs, many franchise brands offer discounts on franchising fees and special networking opportunities to their veteran franchisees. Seventy percent of brands have brought on a veteran franchisee or corporate employee in the last year alone.
Some IFA members go above and beyond to support our veterans. For instance, Sport Clips Haircuts Founder and Chairman Gordon Logan in conjunction with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) started the "Help a Hero" scholarship program. The program provides financial assistance to military veterans to complete their educational goals, supplementing the offerings of the G.I. Bill to ensure the smallest financial impact to veterans seeking education. The program, started in 2013, has seen more than 2,400 men and women across all branches of service receive educational funds totaling more than $11 million. In 2021, Sport Clips' 1,900 locations raised $1.55 million nationwide, and this year's goal is to raise an additional $1.7 million. It's one of many ways you can give back this Veterans Day.
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IFA also partners with a number of organizations to support our military, veterans, and their families and fulfill this mission and give back to those who have given so much to us. Some include BlueStar Families, which helps families as they uproot their lives regularly to move in service of our country, Hiring our Heroes, the Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce, Student Veterans of America, as well as state and federal government institutions. Any of these organizations, and so many more, help bring together the business community to support the military community and set them up for success during and after their time in military service.
The mission-oriented mindset of veterans fosters enormous community impact across the United States, and IFA's members and partners are proud to recognize the importance of this continued service, even after a veteran hangs up their uniform. Regardless of the program or brand, one thing is for certain – franchising is here for veterans. This Veterans Day, we say thank you and salute your service.
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