NextGen in Franchising Winners Energize IFA Annual Convention


Eighteen winners tap experiences of leading franchise executives, prep for next level of business.

by David McKinnon
Winners of the NextGen in Franchising Global Competition brought their best game to the IFA Annual Convention in Las Vegas Jan. 28-Feb. 1. Open to entrepreneurs ages 21-35, the competition is a worldwide program that engages young entrepreneurs seeking careers and business opportunities in the franchising industry.
 They also pitched their business ideas during the “Fran-Shark” competition, with the three top winners going on to win cash prizes. During the NextGen Summit, IFA members served as NextGen advisors to mentor and coach these young entrepreneurs to help them take their businesses to the next level. It is so exciting to work with these young entrepreneurs who are passionate about the businesses they have created. There is no greater evidence of the success and appeal of the franchise business model than to see young people from around the world embracing it, and we look forward to seeing what the future has in store for each of them. 

The 2016-2017 NextGen Winners


Anett Baranyi, Hungary

A lifelong dance enthusiast, Anett founded dance school Dolce Dance and, in just four years, she has grown the dance school concept to have locations in 34 cities throughout Hungary, as well as achieved $680,000 USD in annual revenue.

David Blue, United States

David co-founded Blue Moon Estate Sales USA with his mother to conduct personal property liquidation for people who are downsizing or dealing with the estate of a deceased relative. In 2015, the company’s 11 locations reported $2.5 million in gross sales, and the company was projected to hit nearly $5 million by the end of 2016. David plans to have a total of 200 units in five years, with annual gross sales in excess of $80 million annually. 

Christopher DelPrete, United States

Christopher began Press Gourmet Sandwiches with business partner and friend, Rand Carswell. The restaurant opened in 2015 as a brick-and-mortar version of the extremely popular Miami Press Food Truck, which the duo started in 2012, and is committed to serving the freshest, most innovative sandwiches with menu items hand crafted from scratch in an open kitchen environment.

Carolyne Ekyarisiima, Tanzania

Carolyne is a social entrepreneur, computer scientist and founder of Apps and Girls, a social enterprise that works to bridge the technology gender gap in Africa by investing in young girls looking to break into the industry. She formed Apps and Girls more than three years ago, motivated by a belief in girls’ capacity and power to change the technology community and build an innovative generation. 

Joanne Endaya, Philippines

Founded in 2013, Happy Helpers is a professional home cleaning social enterprise in Manila. The company currently has a presence in five cities within Metro Manila, with year-to-date gross sales of $25,000. 

Alexzandra “Xza” Higgins, United States

Xza is the founder and owner of MommyCon, the first and only natural parenting convention in the United States that brings education, shopping and entertainment to the forefront of the parenting-sphere. Within four years, MommyCon has grown to serve more than 50,000 parents nationwide, and Xza’s goal is to continue expanding the brand to reach new markets through franchising. 

Bao Hoang, Australia

Founded in May 2012, Rolld is a fast casual Vietnamese restaurant committed to delivering fresh, Vietnamese-inspired fare. With 47 open locations, it’s one of the fastest-growing food franchises in Australia.

Nnaemeka Ikegwuonuu, Nigeria

Nnaemeka is the founder of ColdHubs, a start-up social venture that designs, assembles, installs and commissions solar-powered walk-in cold rooms to extend the shelf life of perishable food from two days to 21 days. In five years, Nnaemeka plans to have 1,000 ColdHubs operated by franchisees in Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Daniel Lauria, United States

More than two years ago, Daniel founded Keystone Home Inspection Service, which provides comprehensive home inspections that cover all aspects of the home. He discovered his entrepreneurial passion at an early age, starting his own lawn care business at the age of 12 and launched a Christmas lighting company while he was in college. 

Nikias Leigh, Australia

In 2013, Nikias founded Real Property Photography, a network of professional property photographers who offer a diverse range of visual marketing services to Australia’s growing real estate industry. RPP currently has 15 franchisees and produces more than 4,000 images to clients per month. 

Bongajum Lesley Ndzi, Cameroon

Bongajum started BONGA Juice Bar to empower local farmers and make healthy, nutritious juices accessible to communities throughout his native country. Within four years, he has grown the concept from selling juices door-to-door to being a fully registered business with locations in three towns throughout the country.

David Lindsay, Australia

David founded Salts of the Earth in 2010 after seeing the incredible effects salt therapy had on his father’s respiratory ailments. In just five years, SOTE has grown from one center in Melbourne to 19 centers throughout Australia, and is the largest salt therapy franchise in the world. 

Angela Martinez, United States

Angela founded Mom & Pop Shop, a popsicle and art company based in California that specializes in healthy frozen treats, alongside her two best friends and fellow mothers, Bernie and Julia. They launched the concept two-and-a-half years ago in an effort to make healthy eating accessible and simple for local families and to help instill nutritious habits in children throughout their community at an early age. 

Fredrick Matress, Malawi

In 2014, Fredrick founded Honey Products Industries, a social enterprise working in partnership with Impact Agribusiness to commercialize local small-scale honey producers. The company also offers beekeeping extension services, as well as the production and selling of beekeeping equipment to local smallholder farmers. 

Chris Rose, United States

After spending six years in the US Marine Corps as Chief Information Security Officer and working as a Cybersecurity Engineer for the MITRE Corporation, Chris founded Ariento, LLC in 2015. The company offers managed cyber security and IT subscription packages that protect and secure small businesses from data breaches

Alejandro Souza, Mexico

Alejandro launched Pixza just over a year ago, an innovative and unique pizza concept that simultaneously operates as a social empowerment platform. For every five slices sold, a sixth slice is delivered to homeless young adults who then have the opportunity to join the company’s “The Route of Change” program. The restaurant exclusively employs local homeless young adults in need.

Jennifer Turliuk, Canada

Jennifer founded MakerKids in 2011, a company that runs programs on robotics, coding and Minecraft for kids ages eight to 12. In 2015, the company reported $350,000 in annual revenue and, in five years, expects to have 38 franchises, with operations in Canada and the US. 

Ricus Van Der Merwe, South Africa

Ricus is the founder of Cookie Works, a business designed to spread the love of baking to consumers by allowing guests to create their own cookie creations. With humble beginnings that began with selling cookies at local flea markets, the concept has grown rapidly since its inception in 2014, and in 2017 it will be opening 10 Cookie Works pods across South Africa. 
David McKinnon, CFE, is Chairman of the IFA Franchise Education and Research Foundation’s NextGen in Franchising Committee and Senior Advisor to the Board at The Dwyer Group.