Launching a small business in today's economy may pose a daunting challenge for some prospective entrepreneurs, but an increasing number of the nation's military veterans are venturing into franchising as their choice for pursuing the American Dream, thanks to the International Franchise Association's VetFran Program.
Since March, 129 new veteran-franchisees have joined the ranks of small-business owners using discounts voluntarily offered by IFA member-companies, bringing to 1,499 the number of former military personnel who acquired franchises via the VetFran Program.
As of October, nearly 400 of the association's member-companies offer various financial incentives to honorably-discharged veterans as a way to express appreciation for their service in uniform. Discounts offered to veterans by the franchise systems range from reduced initial franchise fees to waivers of training costs and free product inventories.
VetFran, officially termed the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, was re-initiated by the association following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The program receives no government funding but is officially endorsed by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs' Center for Veterans Enterprise which helps promote small-business ownership for veterans.
The award-winning program has received kudos from both the VA and the American Society of Association Executives, which last year bestowed its Award of Excellence upon IFA for creating an "outstanding program which has resulted in significant benefit to American society."
And there's more on the way, according to survey statistics, which found that there are 228 VetFran franchise agreements pending among the participating companies. Information about VetFran, the franchises and the discounts they offer honorably-discharged veterans may be viewed on IFA's Web site, www.franchise.org, under "Opportunities for Veterans."
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