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VetFran Helps Veterans, Military Spouses and Wounded Warriors Explore Franchise Entrepreneurship, Employment Opportunities

VetFran program celebrates momentous accomplishments.

Veterans Day marked a profound time of reflection for the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program. In November 2011, IFA launched the Operation Enduring Opportunity campaign in partnership with the White House Joining Forces Initiative with the goal of hiring and recruiting as franchise owners 80,000 veterans, wounded warriors and their spouses through 2014.

To measure the progress of this goal, VetFran and Franchise Business Review conducted an industry-wide survey. The research determined that since January 2011, 151,557 veterans have started careers in franchising. Specifically, 146,365 found employment and 5,192 are new franchise business owners. Diligent recording of 1,159 participating franchise businesses enabled us to record this significant number.

In recognition of its hard work and VetFran accomplishments, IFA received the Capital One Award for Small Business Veteran and Military Spouse Employment during the Third Annual Lee Anderson Awards Dinner Nov. 12. IFA and VetFran member La Quinta Inns & Suites were honored with the Military Spouse Employment Award for hiring and support of military spouses in their search for meaningful employment in the private sector.

The dinner was hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s National Chamber Foundation, which launched Hiring Our Heroes in 2011 to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. The program is an excellent example of how the public and private sector can work together in coordinating lasting improvements for veterans and their families in local communities. To date, Hiring Our Heroes has hosted more than 640 hiring fairs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, helping 21,600 veterans and military spouses find jobs.

VetFran Signs Agreement with SBA

VetFran announced its formalized relationship with the U.S. Small Business Administration Nov. 5 by establishing a partnership to start, maintain and expand small-business opportunities for veterans in franchising. Through a Strategic Alliance Memorandum signed by IFA Pres. & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE, and Acting SBA Administrator Jeanne Hulit, the association and SBA will work to support small-business development through specific training and outreach activities for veterans and their families.

“We are grateful for the support of the SBA to recognize the proven track record veterans have as employees and franchisees in our industry,” said Caldeira.

“At the Small Business Administration, we are committed to helping veteran entrepreneurs and small-business owners achieve their dreams,” said Hulit. “Our partnership with IFA on the VetFran strategic initiative is an important step forward as we work to make sure that veterans looking to start or grow a business know about the tools and programs that exist to help them harness their entrepreneurial spirit. We all share a passion for helping veterans, and I look forward to working together as we continue to serve those who have served our country so bravely. Together we will help our nation’s veterans grow businesses that create jobs and strengthen our economy for the long term.”

The agreement was signed at veteran-franchisee Wade Franklin’s UPS Store in Arlington, Va. Franklin served seven years in the Navy, including deployments to Japan, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. Leaving the military, Franklin dreamed of owning his own business. “One good thing about the Navy is they really taught me how to make good decisions and how to manage things, and I wanted to take a chance on myself,” said Franklin. “I don’t have business experience, but in franchising they give you the support.”
View the full video of the event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmRTXNoxf7M&feature=youtu.be

Partnership Highlights

  • IFA’s VetFran program will coordinate franchising content for Operation Boots to Business, the entrepreneurship track of the Transition Assistance Program through which all separating service-members are processed;
  • For the first time, all separating service-members with an interest in small business and entrepreneurship will hear about the resources VetFran has to offer;
  • VetFran will nominate veteran-franchisees to join the SBA Veterans Advisory Committee; and
  • SBA and VetFran will collaborate on educational programming and information sharing, including Small Business Development Centers, SCORE and Women’s Business Centers.

Austin Veterans in Franchising

On Nov. 8 at the Acton School of Business of Austin, Texas, a group of dedicated veterans and VetFran supporters celebrated the progress of the franchise industry in supporting veterans and their spouses. The All Points PR-organized event showed that VetFran is a franchise industry-wide effort and that the veteran community has found a home within the franchise industry. The effort to make franchising the most veteran-friendly career path is strongly supported and continuous, which helps explain why more than 150,000 veterans and their spouses recently entered the industry. Among the many skills these unique individuals bring to the table, building a sense of community and dedication are at the forefront.

Speakers included:

  • Chris Shonk, Special Forces Soldier of the Year, Massage Envy franchisee and Acton School Graduate.
  • Gordon Logan, Sport Clips founder and CEO (Air Force).
  • Mary Kennedy Thompson, CFE, Mr. Rooter Plumbing president.
  • Jeff Connally, CMIT Solutions president and CEO.
  • Pamela Sapia, Small Business Administration district director.
  • Maurice Welton, Edible Arrangements multi-unit franchisee (Army).
 Mr. Rooter Plumbing Pres. Mary Kennedy Thompson (Marines) (fourth from left), Founder & CEO of Sport Clips Gordon Logan (in hat) and other VetFran supporters celebrate.

Mr. Rooter Plumbing Pres. Mary Kennedy Thompson (Marines) (fourth from left), Founder & CEO of Sport Clips Gordon Logan (in hat) and other VetFran supporters celebrate.

Quiznos Multi-Unit Veteran Franchisee Opens Second Store on Veterans Day

On Nov. 11, Quiznos honored men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Services by hosting a Veterans Day remembrance event. At 11 a.m., the Young Marines presented the colors to local veterans. Geoff Walters, a multi-store franchise owner and former Army sergeant, gave free sub sandwiches to every veteran who attended the event at his new store in Thornton, Colo. Quiznos hosted the event at Walter’s store because he is active in the community working with Big Brothers Big Sisters and various VFW locations in the Denver area.

Military veteran and Quiznos franchise owner Geoff Walters, kneeling, with his management team and the Young Marines at the new Quiznos location in Thornton, Colo.

Military veteran and Quiznos franchise owner Geoff Walters, kneeling, with his management team and the Young Marines at the new Quiznos location in Thornton, Colo.

Thompson Urges Congress to Implement a 50 Percent Tax Credit on Franchise Fees for Veterans

Testifying before the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs on Nov. 6, Mary Kennedy Thompson, CFE, Mr. Rooter Plumbing president, urged Congress to implement a 50 percent tax credit on franchise fees for veterans. “The tax credit gets them into business faster, it gets them on their feet faster. They also get to hire more people faster,” she said. Thompson spoke from experience having started her first franchise business after retirement from the Marine Corps.

Mary Kennedy Thompson (far left), president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, testifies before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Mary Kennedy Thompson (far left), president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing, testifies before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Sport Clips Backs Wounded Warriors Family Support

Throughout 2013, Sport Clips locations nationwide backed Wounded Warriors Family Support, a partner of the Gary Sinise Foundation, which raises funds to build “smart homes” for severely wounded veterans and their families. Triple amputee Army veteran and “smart home” recipient Rusty Dunagan, foundation founder and actor Gary Sinise and representatives of the Oklahoma City-Metro Sport Clips Haircuts presented a $10,100 check to Wounded Warriors Family Support, a foundation partner, in Guthrie, Okla. Nov. 6. The donation was made possible through the “High Five 5K” conducted by the local Sport Clips franchise Oct. 27 to support the construction of custom homes for severely wounded veterans through WWFS.

VetFran Serves Veterans in the Greater Community

IFA’s VetFran program works to support veterans and their families in the greater community. VetFran was the top sponsor for the 2013 McLean 5K Wounded Warrior Race hosted by the Navy Marine Coast Guard Residence Foundation and IFA member CENTURY 21 New Millennium. Several of IFA’s staff members volunteered to serve at the information booth and the VetFran booth during the event. All proceeds were directed to the construction of transitional housing for severely wounded veterans at Vinson Hall in Alexandria, Va. The race drew 1,200 runners including active military, retired military ROTC units, families, students and community members.
Retired Marine Rob Jones’ opening ceremony remarks can be found at https://vimeo.com/76266264.

Retired Marine and Paralympian Rob Jones approaches finish line at the Mclean 5K Wounded Warrior Race. Courtesy of Alexander Borisov/Red Door Photography

Retired Marine and Paralympian Rob Jones approaches finish line at the Mclean 5K Wounded Warrior Race. Courtesy of Alexander Borisov/Red Door Photography

Former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta to Headline IFA’s Annual Convention

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will be the featured keynote speaker for IFA’s 54th Annual Convention Feb. 22-25 in New Orleans.

“Leon Panetta is an inspiring, thoughtful and highly-respected leader on both sides of the political aisle,” said IFA Pres. & CEO Steve Caldeira, CFE. “Secretary Panetta is a proven leader who possesses a keen sense of the impact public policy has on the business community. In today’s still challenging global economic and foreign-policy environment, he has been a key asset in national security and defense strategy. His vast insights and wide-ranging experience on effective bipartisan leadership, operational skills and fiscal discipline will be of great value to the more than 3,000 business leaders at the IFA Convention.”

Kevin Blanchard is project coordinator, research & strategic initiatives for the International Franchise Association.

Kevin Blanchard is project coordinator, research & strategic initiatives for the International Franchise Association.

Panetta served as the 23rd secretary of defense from 2011 to 2013. He was confirmed unanimously 100-0 vote by the U.S. Senate. He oversaw the final removal of American troops from Iraq as well as the beginning of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. He led the effort to develop a new defense strategy to advance greater agility, protect national security and opened new opportunities for everyone to serve in the military and protected benefits for wounded warriors and their families.

Before joining the Dept. of Defense, Panetta served as CIA director from 2009 to 2011, where he most notably was responsible for overseeing the operation that resulted in bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. Panetta also served as an Army intelligence officer from 1964-1966 and received the Army Commendation Medal. From July 1994 to January 1997, Panetta was chief of staff to President Clinton and prior to that, he directed the Office of Management and Budget, a position that built on his years of work on the U.S. House Budget Committee. Panetta also represented California’s 16th (now 17th) Congressional District from 1977 to 1993, rising to House Budget Committee chairman during his final four years in Congress.

Kevin Blanchard, a (Marines) veteran, is the project coordinator, research & strategic initiatives for the International Franchise Association. He was wounded in Iraq and recovered at Walter Reed. He earned his college degree and then worked in green construction. His IFA duties include helping veterans to become franchisees. He enlightened a class on franchising during the 100 Entrepreneurs Project session on Nov. 4. His presentation can be found at http://100entrepreneursproject.ning.com/?xg_source=msg_mes_network. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org via the directory.

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