VetFran Makes its Mark to Help Our Returning Veterans
As we celebrate Veterans Day this month, it is an appropriate time to consider both the debts we owe to our nation’s brave veterans and the steadfast contributions that the franchise industry continues to make on their behalf. I could not be prouder that we, as an industry, have not only fulfilled, but surpassed, Operating Enduring Opportunity’s commitment to hire as team members and recruit as franchisees 80,000 veterans, wounded warriors and military spouses by welcoming 151,557 veterans and military spouses to franchising since 2011, including 5,192 franchise owners.
As Operation Enduring Opportunity launched on Veterans Day 2011, we knew it was a big challenge to pull off. We staked IFA’s name and reputation on it and franchising responded. Since that time, VetFran membership has increased by one-third to more than 600 franchise companies.
On April 30, I was honored to join President Obama, Vice President Biden, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden onstage in the East Room of the White House as the Joining Forces Initiative announced that 290,000 veterans and military spouses have been hired since the launch of the initiative in 2011. IFA member companies contributed almost one-quarter of that total. The impact made by VetFran and Operation Enduring Opportunity is a profound demonstration of the strength of franchising and the good it does in our society.
We are determined to see that these results are just the beginning. VetFran has just formed a partnership with the Small Business Administration that will create a structurally unprecedented reach for franchising to help veterans. For the first time, all members of the military separating from the service that have an interest in small business and entrepreneurship will learn about the resources and opportunities that VetFran and franchising offer. Through the partnership, VetFran will coordinate franchising content in the entrepreneurship and small-business track of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) through which all separating service-members process. This track, called Operation Boots to Business is expected to educate 45,000 service-members in the next year alone.
It is because of the leadership, vision and commitment of leaders such as Dina Dwyer-Owens, CFE, Jim Amos, CFE, Mary Kennedy Thompson, CFE, Joe Lindenmayer, Tariq Farid, CFE, Lonnie Helgerson, CFE, Gordon Logan, Greg Tanner and countless others that we have made these strides. These results are a product of the fit between franchising and attributes learned in the military such as leadership, working within proven systems and a laser-like focus on operational excellence. But most of all, the success of Operation Enduring Opportunity is owed to the people who make up the franchise community across the country that extended themselves to help a veteran. It is through small-businesses owners and employees − many themselves veterans − working in their communities that franchising makes its biggest impact. It is from this perspective that we must recognize how privileged franchising is to add the talents of more than 150,000 brave men and women to our own community.
VetFran was born from the awareness that we continue to benefit from our veterans long after their service has ended. It is my hope that through this knowledge we can ensure our attention and appreciation remain steadfast for our nation’s returning veterans.