Congratulations: Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner: Tariq Farid: President and CEO Edible Arrangements.



First presented in 1982, this award is conferred upon an individual who is currently building a successful business venture. The recipient need not be an IFA member, but must exemplify the "entrepreneurial spirit" that franchising represents. He or she must demonstrate innovative management skills and be a risk taker in a franchise that has been in operation for at least three years, while remaining active in his or her community.

Emigrating from Pakistan to the United States in 1969, Tariq Farid's entrepreneurial spirit bloomed in the late 1980s at the age of 17 when he used a $5,000 cash advance from his parents to purchase a local flower shop in East Haven, Conn. Within two years he was operating four successful stores, building on his experience from working in a McDonald's restaurant where he learned the power of business systemization. After realizing the need for quality software systems for ease of management in the retail floral industry, Farid founded computer-software distributor Netsolace in 1993 and boned his skills with computer systems.

In 1999, Farid opened the first Edible Arrangements, which specializes in fresh fruit arrangements. After designing the computer systems, training manuals, production and profitability tracking and supply chain management process, he began franchising the concept in 2001. As president and CEO, Farid has grown the company to more than 800 stores serving locations in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Edible Arrangements has also garnered a number of recognitions including fourth place in Inc. magazine's 500 fastest growing companies in 2006, in 2007 as Entrepreneur magazine's 56th in its Franchise 500; 62nd among top global franchises; 15th among fastest-growing franchises; and in 2008 as 27th among the Hot 100 Fast-Growth Businesses.

In 2006, Farid also launched the franchise concept Frutation by...

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