Spreading the Word
MOAA’s Military and Veteran Networking Forum brings together former soldiers with opportunities from franchise, aerospace and top defense businesses.
By George Eldridge
As VetFran continues to celebrate its 25th anniversary, IFA’s VetFran Committee continues to search for ways to further educate and inform veterans and their spouses about the possibilities of small business ownership through franchising. One method to reach this audience is working through veteran organizations that offer job fairs. In September 2015, one of VetFran’s strategic partners hosted a totally different kind of event that enabled veterans to network in a more relaxed atmosphere while speaking with potential employers and also learning about the possibility of becoming one of America’s next entrepreneurs.
The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) held the first event of this kind last year at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and it was a huge success, as more than 600 veterans attended. The networking event was divided into three arenas: top military-friendly companies, aerospace careers and exploring entrepreneurship. The Exploring Entrepreneurship arena held a panel that applied to veterans thinking about starting a business, those who may already own a business or veterans looking to explore franchise opportunities. After the panel concluded, the speakers were available to continue the discussion on a personal basis. Additionally, the Exploring Entrepreneurship arena hosted approximately 15 businesses and organizations dedicated to answering questions that may help these veterans to fulfill their dream of opening their own business.
Another strategic partner of VetFran, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), also attended the event. Based out of Syracuse University in New York, IVMF is dedicated to helping veterans and their spouses find business opportunities through multiple platforms. Dr. Mike Haynie, vice chancellor of Syracuse University, discussed the obvious link between veterans and business ownership. He also detailed the difficulty of opening a business and offered advice from years of experience working with veterans during the entire process.
MOAA is hosting another career networking event on June 30 and it is once again at the National Air and Space Museum. VetFran will be involved in planning the Exploring Entrepreneurship arena. Through this event and many others, it is possible to expose veterans and their spouses to not just employment opportunities but also the possibility of small business ownership.
As VetFran continues to strengthen its relationships with MOAA and other veteran organizations, IFA continues to look for individuals interested in attending these events to represent franchising and their brand, but perhaps more importantly, individuals — veteran or not — that succeeded in small business ownership to come forward to help mentor these men and women who are seeking a new and exciting opportunity. If your brand is interested in participating in events such as these, please contact me
George G. Eldridge is manager of IFA’s VetFran Program. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org.