Browse By

Inclusion is a Growth Strategy

diversity-fiThe rapid pace of demographic changes and population growth combine to create unique opportunities for franchising.

After careful consideration and months of discussion, the Diversity Institute, under the aegis of the International Franchise Association’s Educational Foundation, is embarking upon a brand-new look and focus, beginning with the MinorityFran program. The institute began last June testing the tagline “Accelerating the Mission of Franchising,” rolled out the Meet the Mayors Program and sought funding for the Minority Leadership Program. After fine-tuning, the institute is ready to take the programming to a new and improved level.

What’s in a Name?

It depends on who you talk to. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, white births are no longer the majority. Racial/ethnic minorities, including Black/African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans, account for the lion’s share of new population growth in the United States, and as the population of immigrants continues to increase, there will no longer be a “majority” race. By 2042, it is predicted that non-Hispanic whites will be outnumbered in the U.S. population. The combined buying power of racial and ethnic minorities will rise to $2.1 trillion dollars in 2015 − two years from now − up from $1.6 trillion in 2010.

From a philosophical view, the word minority stems from “minor” meaning “less than” and it begs to reason why any racial or ethnic group would be considered less than or inferior to another. IFA, through the Diversity Institute Board, is choosing to be more inclusive with adopting the term “diversity.” When it comes down to it, we are all diverse. The DiversityFran program will still have a primary focus on increasing the number of racial/ethnic minorities becoming franchisors, franchisees, suppliers and employees.

How Can You Become a Part of this Change?

First, become a fully-participating member of the DiversityFran program, not just a name on a list. The program will be starting from scratch and asking all of its members to make a commitment. Second, join us on the road at the One-Day Seminars be conducted in cities across the country. Third, DiversityFran is ready to launch elements of the Diversity Franchisee Leadership Program (originally to be called the Minority Franchisee Leadership Program). As such, the program is seeking successful IFA leaders to join to become a part of the DiversityFranship Mentoring program. Fourth, encourage your diverse franchisees to become Certified Franchise Executives. A limited number of scholarships will be available on an annual basis through the Diversity Franchisee Leadership Program. Applications for the Diversity Franchisee Leadership program will be available in September.

What is DiversityFran?

DiversityFran, formerly known as MinorityFran, is a franchisee education and recruitment program designed to assist IFA members in reaching emerging markets and increasing diversity in franchising while educating diverse prospective franchisees about opportunities in franchising.

The rapid pace of demographic changes and population growth combine to create unique opportunities for franchising. According to the “Franchised Business Ownership: By Minority and Gender Groups” report published by IFA’s Educational Foundation in 2011, minority ownership for franchise businesses increased to 20.5 percent in 2007, an increase of 6.2 percent from 2002. Given the current and projected demographics, IFA is seeking ways to increase ownership in these groups. DiversityFran will provide participating IFA members with tools and resources to successfully engage these emerging markets.

What are the Benefits of Participating in the DiversityFran Program?

  • A convenient place where prospects can explore franchise offerings of companies actively looking to recruit diverse franchisees.
  • Information and tools to help your company increase the numbers of diverse franchisees, employees and suppliers in your franchise system.
  • Preferred speakers at the diversity specialty workshops for franchisees during the year at events such as the International Franchise Expo, Franchise Expo South or West Coast Franchise Expo in addition to select events hosted by national diverse organizations.
  • Regular exposure to diverse franchisee prospects through media promotion, press releases, ads, as well as collateral/marketing materials in Franchise Resource Centers in major cities.
  • Listing in a special DiversityFran section on IFA’s website.
  • The opportunity to be highlighted in the June Special Diversity and Inclusion Issue of Franchising World magazine.
  • Receive a copy of the DiversityFran logo for your company website and for inclusion in other recruitment materials.
  • Collateral material to be distributed to the newly established Franchise Resource Centers across the country. Only active DiversityFran participating companies will have this unique opportunity.

Minimum Standards

IFA members who are committed and eager to expand opportunities for diverse/emerging markets in franchising at all levels – in employment, in franchise recruitment and in vendor relations – may participate in DiversityFran. Companies must be able to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion through active participation.
We simply ask that you commit to supporting the following standards:

  • Participating in the One-Day Opportunities in Franchising for Seminars for Diverse Candidates conducted across the country. Select the cities of interest.
  • Offering an incentive similar to VetFran (such as, but not limited to reducing or waiving initial franchise fee, additional marketing assistance) to qualified diverse candidates.

In addition, your company will:

  • Designate a company representative to be the DiversityFran program liaison and work with IFA to develop or enhance your company’s diversity/emerging markets program.
  • Join IFA’s Speakers Bureau and identify diverse individuals who can serve as speakers.
  • Provide IFA with diverse franchisees in your system that can be featured in media interviews and articles.

DiversityFran participants can tailor this program to fit existing recruitment programs or to build on such programs.

DiversityFran Referral Process

  • Prospects learn about DiversityFran in various ways, through a newly designed IFA’s DiversityFran webpage, media and PR outlets, collateral materials in the new Franchise Resource Centers across the country, attending DiversityFran-sponsored programs and events in cooperation with national organizations and through website links with national organizations that serve diverse constituencies.
  • Prospects may contact the DiversityFran companies directly after downloading the listing on IFA’s website to inquire about the program.
  • Participating companies will provide feedback to IFA on the success of the program, including the number of inquiries received and the franchises that are awarded to diverse candidates.
  • Participating companies are recognized as they take advantage of the DiversityFran program to expand their new markets efforts and increase the number of diverse individuals in their franchise systems.

The new DiversityFran applications will be available in August.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The business case for diversity and inclusion was proven years ago. But now, the census data and a wealth of demographic projections should send us all a very clear new message. To remain competitive over the next generation, the franchise industry must increase its footprint in diverse communities sooner rather than later. We believe that DiversityFran will help lead the industry toward meeting this challenge.

When organizations embrace diversity and inclusion, it generates a positive return to their bottom lines. It is simply good business and an excellent growth strategy. n

Joe Bourdow, CFE, is senior advisor of Valpak, serves as chairman of the International Franchise Association Diversity Institute Board of Directors and is a member of the IFA Board of Directors. Miriam L. Brewer, CFE, is IFA senior director of education and diversity. Bourdow can be reached and Brewer can be reached at 202-662-0784 or

Joe Bourdow, CFE

Joe Bourdow, CFE

Miriam L. Brewer, CFE

Miriam L. Brewer, CFE


Read previous post:
Shirley Engelmeier, CEO and founder of InclusionINC
Inclusion: Embracing Internal and External Benefits

A new growth strategy of inclusion means mobilizing the diversity of your work force and being open to ideas, knowledge,...