VetFran program reaching new levels: franchising has proven to be an ideal structure, helping veterans become leaders and productive participants in the U.S. economy.

Author:Thompson, Mary Kennedy
Position:HONORING AMERICA'S VETERANS
 
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As tens of thousands of servicemen and women return from deployment in Afghanistan and across the globe, we owe it to our veterans to offer them a career path and small-business opportunities through franchising. Franchising is good for veterans and veterans are good for franchising. Not only is this critical for the economic and social stability of our veterans, it is an important component of the U.S. economic recovery, as well as the future of our nation.

With its rapid training opportunities, scalability and need for operational execution and excellence, franchising has proven to be an ideal structure helping veterans become leaders and productive participants in the U.S. economy. According to a new PwC study commissioned by the International Franchise Association, there were an estimated 66,275 veteran-owned franchised businesses based on proportional data in the United States in 2007 (the most recent year complete data could be obtained) providing nearly 815,000 jobs. Thousands more veterans are successful in franchising as executives, managers and staff. This represents a significant economic impact in our country.

But for many veterans, franchising is a distant dream they don't understand or know. Given the unprecedented need at this time, starting this fall, IFA will extend the opportunities of franchising to even more veterans through an expanded VetFran program.

VetFran was born out of the desire of the late Don Dwyer Sr., founder of The Dwyer Group, to say "thank you" to our veterans returning from the first Gulf War. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, IFA relaunched its campaign to assist U.S. veterans at that difficult time. Now, IFA's VetFran program helps returning service members access franchise opportunities. VetFran's ranks have grown to include more than 400 franchise systems that voluntarily offer financial incentives and mentoring to prospective veteran franchise small-business owners. Thousands of veterans have become franchise owners through VetFran and other programs.

Benefits veteran franchisees receive from the VetFran program include:

* A percentage off the purchase of their franchise

* Preferred financing with lenders

* Training and support

* Discounts on start-up materials and supplies

* Vendor discount programs specifically designed for veterans

As our nation responds to the challenge of transitioning thousands of veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and around the globe...

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