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Veterans Have the Right Skills to Run a Franchise

The time has never been more right to help our veterans.

I proudly wear a TD Bank shield on my left jacket lapel, but for 26 years, I proudly wore different kinds of uniforms – those that shaped the person behind their shields.
The uniforms I wore were those of a U.S. Naval officer and Air Force officer. As a retired member of the Navy Reserves I have seen many amazing individuals come out of the armed services and enter civilian life. I know firsthand that U.S. veterans are outstanding men and women who have received management training – and more importantly, leadership training – which can form a foundation for tremendous success in the world of small business.

Veterans Franchise Program

In February, TD Bank joined with the International Franchise Association to launch the Veterans Franchise program which is designed to help U.S. veterans become franchise owners.

Across TD Bank’s Maine to Florida footprint, franchises such as Baskin-Robbins, Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts and Papa Murphy’s are offering a streamlined loan application process, a packaging fee waiver and lower interest rates from TD Bank for U.S. military veterans.

We decided to join the IFA in its efforts with veterans because we know many former military personnel not only possess strong management skills, but they demonstrate disciplined attention to detail, and a strong sense of commitment. This is particularly important in the franchise space, where consistency, uniformity and following procedures – sometimes even wearing a uniform – are foundations of a business.

I believe that veterans, even if unable to open a franchise or lacking the desire to own a franchise business, are a great fit as employees in the franchise environment. Being involved in a franchise – with the opportunity to move up the corporate ladder or into store management – allows a veteran to use the valuable skills they gained from their tenure of service.

Small-business ownership across all industries, including franchising, is ideal for the veteran.

Veterans in Focus

Small-business ownership across all industries, including franchising, is ideal for the veteran, and it’s gained the attention of the banking industry and government, which are both increasingly making it easier to help veterans become small-business owners.

In May, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced its SBA Veteran Pledge Initiative, which will assist 2,000 more veterans (than typically supported by SBA), in obtaining loans to start or expand small businesses. SBA will do this by increasing lending by $475 million to veterans over the next five years, which equals a 5 percent increase above historic veteran lending activity by the SBA.

TD Bank is one of the 120 financial partners working with SBA on this initiative. I was pleased to be a part of the announcement of the SBA Veteran Pledge Initiative at Fort Bragg, representing the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders as a member of the board of directors, as well as the bank. According to the SBA, 9 percent of U.S. small businesses are veteran owned. That means approximately 2.45 million small businesses owned by veterans employ more than 5 million individuals. In the private-sector work force, veterans are more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self employed, according to the SBA.

To me, this says that the time has never been more right to help our veterans.

The Right Thing to Do

I feel strongly about a veteran’s ability to succeed in the franchise world because I was able to find my own success in the business world, and I owe much of that to my experience in the U.S. Armed Forces.

For those who risk their own lives to provide our freedoms, offering these types of initiatives and programs is the least we can do. To help a veteran assimilate back into civilian life is a valuable gift not only to the veteran but to the family that supports them. With the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, providing veterans access to capital has never been more important.

TD Bank believes that lending to veterans is a sound risk strategy for the bank, because veterans possess the skills they need to succeed. It’s a win for everyone, and it’s just the right thing to do.

Richard Bradshaw is head of Small Business Administration Lending for TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, and a retired Navy Reserve Intelligence officer. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org via the directory.

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