The franchise community has made a commitment to U.S. veterans by providing business opportunities and support in pursuing those opportunities. Franchisors work together to reduce veteran unemployment and offer franchise investment incentives, while the International Franchise Association works to provide education and tools to help U.S. service members chart their civilian futures. These important efforts are paying off. More than 6,000 veterans or their spouses have become franchise business owners since 2011, bringing the total number of independent, veteranowned franchises to more than 66,000. In total, more than 238,000 veterans and their spouses have found jobs in franchising during the past five years.
But there's still more we can do as an industry. I hope you'll work within your own franchise to find ways to assist those who have served to protect us.
WHERE TO START
If your franchise has not established an outreach program to attract veterans as franchisees, a simple way to start is by joining VetFran. Membership is free and beneficial to both the franchise and to veterans seeking a business opportunity. Your franchise becomes a part of a valuable network that affords an audience of potential franchisees and assists veterans seeking business opportunities by offering training, financial assistance and franchise business industry support. Since its formation in 1991, some 630 companies have participated and more than 2,200 military veterans have taken advantage of the program.
Streamlining entry for transitioning service members is a great first step. Perhaps your business is large enough to dedicate a team member to recruiting veterans, but if not, research the many partners already established to help with this. Here are a few of the resources that can help incorporate veterans into your business: the Rosie Network, the Small Business Administration's Veterans Business Outreach Program and Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative, Veterans for Foreign Wars' VFW Transition and Employment Program, and the American Legion's Career Center.
In addition to paving a path for veterans to become franchise owners, consider hiring veterans for roles within the franchise. The skills learned in the military --leadership, teamwork, reliability, accountability--translate directly to franchise ownership as well as successful, hard-working employees.
From my service on the VetFran Committee and one term as Chair, I've learned the...