On the third anniversary of the White House Joining Forces Program, launched April 2011, the International Franchise Association remains committed to providing veterans with the professional skills and entrepreneurial knowledge they need prior to working in or starting a franchise through its veteran transition program, VetFran.
“Franchise businesses realize that creating employment and small business ownership opportunities for veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors is not only the right thing to do, but it makes good business sense,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. “Veterans thrive in the franchise industry because they are used to following systems and structure, work as part of a team and truly understand what leadership is all about. This is exactly how the time-tested model of franchising works, by following that same proven and successful template. Together, with the education provided by the IFA and the opportunities and incentives offered by an all-time high of 630 VetFran-participating franchise companies, our industry is opening doors for many veteran entrepreneurs to start and grow a franchise suitable to their interests.”
The franchising industry, led by IFA’s VetFran strategic initiative, were part of the first and largest private sector commitments to the White House Joining Forces Program made on Veterans Day in 2011. IFA and its membership pledged to hire and recruit 80,000 veterans, military spouses, and wounded warriors by the end of 2014, as team members and franchise small business owners. To date, nearly 152,000 veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors have started careers in franchising – including 5,192 as franchise owners by utilizing the financial discounts offered on the initial franchise fee by VetFran member companies.
“As we celebrate this important anniversary and accomplishment under the strong and dedicated leadership provided by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, we must keep up the momentum to enable service men and women to fulfill their dreams and find meaningful career opportunities here at home as they have clearly earned that right,” said Caldeira. “Not only is it critical for the economic and social stability of veterans and their families, but it is an important component of the U.S. economic recovery.”
In 1991, IFA launched VetFran, a strategic initiative to help Gulf War veteran’s access business ownership opportunities in franchising. In 2011, Operation Enduring Opportunity was launched to expand that initiative to include hiring veterans as well. The IFA also joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Hiring our Heroes” initiative which helps veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. In November 2013, IFA received the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Capital One Bank Award for Small Business Veteran and Military Spouse Employment at the 3rd Annual Lee Anderson Awards Dinner hosted by the Chamber. Additionally, the IFA was also honored in a White House ceremony in April, 2013 along with other for-profit and not-for-profit organizations for their significant commitments and contributions to veterans-related hiring programs.
IFA maintains a VetFran Toolkit, available atwww.VetFran.com, with tools and solutions for veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors interested in franchise ownership or careers in franchising.