MORE VETERANS OPENING SMALL BUSINESSES USING FRANCHISE DISCOUNTS
WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 --- Launching a small business in today’s economy may pose a daunting challenge for some prospective entrepreneurs, but an increasing number of the nation’s military veterans are venturing into franchising as their choice for pursuing the American Dream, reports the International Franchise Association.
Since March, 129 new veteran-franchisees have joined the ranks of small-business owners using discounts voluntarily offered by IFA member-companies, bringing to 1,499 the number of former military personnel who acquired franchises via the VetFran Program.
Today, nearly 400 of the association’s member-companies offer various financial incentives to honorably-discharged veterans as a way to express appreciation for their service in uniform. Discounts offered to veterans by the franchise systems range from reduced initial franchise fees to waivers of training costs and free product inventories.
According to the latest survey of VetFran participating companies, the top 10 sellers of franchises to veterans are Matco Tools (177), The Dwyer Group (167), The UPS Store (146), Dunkin’ Brands (84), CruiseOne (68), Meineke Car Care Centers (48), PostNet International (41), Sport Clips (33), Mr. Handyman (32) and Maui Wowi Smoothies (29).
VetFran, officially termed the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, was re-initiated by the association following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The program receives no government funding but is officially endorsed by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Veterans Enterprise which helps promote small-business ownership for veterans.
The award-winning program has received kudos from both the VA and the American Society of Association Executives, which last year bestowed its Award of Excellence upon IFA for creating an “outstanding program which has resulted in significant benefit to American society.”
And there are more veteran-owned small businesses on the way, according to survey statistics, which found 228 VetFran franchise agreements pending among the participating companies. Information about VetFran, the franchises and the discounts they offer honorably-discharged veterans may be viewed on IFA’s Web site, www.franchise.org, under “Opportunities for Veterans.”
IFA is also throwing its weight behind new legislation designed to aid veterans in becoming small-business owners that was introduced recently by U.S. Reps. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.). IFA chairwoman and CEO of the Waco, Texas-based Dwyer Group of service franchises, Dina Dwyer-Owens, testified before the U.S. House Small Business Committee yesterday urging Congress to approve the bill and other key measures that would increase small-business ownership and hasten the nation’s economic recovery.
The Help Veterans Own Franchise Act, H.R. 2672, would provide a tax credit for franchise businesses that offer qualified veterans a discounted initial franchise fee. The proposed credit would be 50 percent of the total franchise fee discount offered by the franchise system to the franchisee, capped at $25,000 per unit.
“Given the current economic climate, many franchised businesses are finding it harder to access the capital they need to open new stores and recruit new investors,” Dwyer-Owens said. “The Help Veterans Own Franchises Act is a natural compliment to IFA’s Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative.”
The Boswell-Schock bill would also provide a tax credit equal to 25 percent of the remaining franchise fee to veterans who purchase and open franchises in their local communities. Eligibility for both the franchise system and franchisee would be capped at franchise fees of $100,000.
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Photo Available: IFA Chairwoman and CEO of The Dwyer Group Dina Dwyer-Owens testifies before the U.S. House Small Business Committee.
About the International Franchise Association
The International Franchise Association, the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising, is the preeminent voice and acknowledged leader for the industry worldwide. Approaching a half-century of service with a growing membership of nearly 1,300 franchise systems, 10,000-plus franchisees and more than 500 firms that supply goods and services to the industry, IFA protects, enhances and promotes franchising by advancing the values of integrity, respect, trust, commitment to excellence, honesty and diversity. For more information, visit the IFA Web site at www.franchise.org.