SAN DIEGO, CA – The International Franchise Association (IFA) and the IFA Foundation today announced reinvigorated efforts and new partnerships to engage with members of the military and encourage veteran entrepreneurship. The Association’s 62nd Annual Convention taking place Feb. 26 – March 1, 2022, will highlight the unique and valuable opportunities for former military service members and their families.

“The upcoming IFA Convention provides an extraordinary platform for the world’s largest franchising membership organization to partner with leading national nonprofits that support our military and veteran communities,” said Rikki Amos, Executive Director of IFA Foundation. “Acting as a bridge between franchising and diverse communities, not only will the IFA Foundation help shape the future of franchising, we will help create opportunities for those who served in our military to become the very fabric of their communities through business ownership and having the opportunity to serve again.”

Through a pair of strategic initiatives, VetFran and Franchising Gives Back, the IFA and IFA Foundation are partnering with best-in-class national nonprofits dedicated to serving and supporting the military and veteran communities. Organizations including Hiring our Heroes, Blue Star Families, Team Rubicon, the Institute for Veterans & Military Families at Syracuse University, Armed Services YMCA San Diego, and Team RWB will be leading specialty panels, service projects, and other events at the conference which emphasize how veterans are uniquely positioned to succeed as franchise business owners and community leaders, and the mutually beneficial relationship that exists between veterans and franchising.

“These initiatives that impact the community are driven not only by purpose-driven nonprofits but are also made possible in part by private sector partners like Roark Capital and USAA, which sponsored the Franchising Gives Back service projects and VetFran-focused specialty panel, respectively,” said Amos.

Veterans represent a strong portion of franchising, making up 14 percent of franchise owners nationwide, whereas veterans are only seven percent of the U.S. population – showing strong potential for growth among this population. Veterans are uniquely equipped to succeed in franchising, as the skills honed in the military, such as leadership, discipline, teamwork, and adaptability are the same traits that make successful entrepreneurs. Franchising also allows veterans to go into business with the backing of a proven business model and a robust team of support.

The nonprofit partners taking part in the IFA Convention have a presence in communities nationwide, and the connections made between these organizations, veteran franchisees, the military community and those who support them will serve as a primer for success. Veteran franchise owners can have confidence in their new ventures knowing they’re not only supported by the franchisor and its resources, but by nonprofits that complement their efforts to grow through existing strategic partnerships and community relationships.

2022 marks the 30th year of the VetFran and its mission to educate both veterans and franchisors about the unique match between the skills and aptitude of entrepreneurial veterans and the demands and opportunities of being a franchisee. Franchise systems across the country have shown their support for military veterans through discounted ownership fees and participation in VetFran.

To be included in the VetFran program, franchises are ranked on multiple criteria: all must have clean audit reports, and additional rankings include years in operation, higher franchise discounts, and, at the top level, high continuity rates for their franchised locations.

About the International Franchise Association

Celebrating over 60 years of excellence, education, and advocacy, the International Franchise Association (IFA) is the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations, and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising and the approximately 775,000 franchise establishments that support nearly 8.2 million direct jobs, $787.7 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy, and almost 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees, and companies that support the industry in marketing, law, technology, and business development.

About the IFA Foundation

Founded in 1983, the IFA Foundation has been at the forefront of serving the franchising community and supporting the mission of the International Franchise Association. Through the production of timely research and by acting as a bridge between franchising and diverse communities, the Foundation helps to shape the future of franchising. We provide the franchising community and their advocates with the tools and knowledge to promote and protect the franchise business model while ensuring that it remains inclusive, diverse and a force for good in communities around the country and the world. To learn more visit, franchisefoundation.org.

About VetFran

VetFran is the flagship initiative of the International Franchise Association’s Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and serves as a bridge between the franchise community, our nation’s veterans and a myriad of public and private sector partners. Dating back to 1991, VetFran has been at the forefront of ensuring that franchising is a leading sector of the economy for being veteran-friendly and veteran-ready. To learn more, visit vetfran.org.

About Franchising Gives Back

Franchising Gives Back was established to promote and recognize the philanthropic and community service contributions of franchise businesses in their local communities. In addition to the enormous contributions made daily by franchised local businesses, each year at the IFA Annual Convention, business owners come together to give back to the community. To learn more, visit franchisinggivesback.org.

About Blue Star Families

Blue Star Families is the nation’s largest grass-roots military family support organization, with a mission to support military families to improve military readiness. Its distinctive approach builds stronger communities around military families through knowledge and programs that address the unique needs of those who serve. Blue Star Families’ nationally recognized surveys and analysis give military families an important voice that informs policymakers and its military family programs. It uses the power of its collective resources and cross-sector collaborations to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of members of military families to strengthen the troops, their families, and our nation as a whole. For more information, visit bluestarfam.org.

About Hiring Our Heroes

Hiring our Heroes is a nonprofit, nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. Their vision is to bridge the civilian-military divide within the business community. To date, more than 31,000 veterans and military spouses have obtained employment opportunities through Hiring Our Heroes. Learn more at hiringourheroes.org.

About Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families

Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) delivers no-cost career training and entrepreneurship programs across the US and globally. And we help ease the transition after service back into communities for service members, veterans, and their families as well as prepare them for successful careers and business ownership. We’ve supported over 160,000 to date. It’s our mission to support theirs. For more information, visit ivmf.syracuse.edu and follow the IVMF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service by leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises. Founded following the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the organization has grown to more than 150,000 volunteers across the United States and has launched nearly 1,000 operations both domestically and internationally. Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, Team Rubicon has not only pivoted to be able to continue to deliver disaster response and rebuild services in core mission areas but has also expanded its scope of missions to meet community needs brought about by COVID. Visit www.teamrubiconusa.org for more information.

About Team RWB

Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB), a nonprofit organization founded in 2010, is forging America’s leading health and wellness community for military veterans, families, and their supporters. With Team RWB, all veterans have the opportunity to reclaim what was most precious about their military service: an unwavering sense of belonging born of challenges that show us what we are capable of. For more information, visit www.teamrwb.org

About Armed Services YMCA, San Diego

Founded in 1920, the Armed Services YMCA San Diego enhances the lives of military members and their families through specialized counseling, family & youth enrichment, and warrior care programs relevant to the unique challenges of military life. For more information, visit www.asymca.org/san-diego-home.

About USAA

Founded in 1922 by a group of military officers, USAA is among the leading providers of insurance, banking and investment, and retirement solutions to more than 13 million members of the U.S. military, veterans who have honorably served and their families. Headquartered in San Antonio, USAA has offices in seven U.S. cities and three overseas locations and employs approximately 36,000 people worldwide. Each year, the company contributes to national and local nonprofits in support of military families and communities where employees live and work. For more information about USAA, follow them on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.

About Roark Capital

Roark focuses on investing in the consumer and business services sectors, with a specialization in franchised and multi-location businesses. Since its inception, affiliates of Roark have invested in 98 franchise/multi-location brands, which collectively generate $61 billion in annual system revenues from 66,000 locations in 50 states and 89 countries. Roark Capital is the Founding Sponsor of Franchising Gives Back. For more information, visit www.roarkcapital.com.

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