Franchising provides unique opportunities for entrepreneurially-minded people from a variety of backgrounds to become small business owners.
(article continues below)
But for veterans, franchising can be a particularly attractive way to get started in business. Here's why . . .
In recent years, both the business community and the government have become attuned to the need to make business ownership more available to the men and women who have served in the armed forces. As a result, there are now several initiatives in place that enable veterans to become owners of business franchise.
Combined with veterans' innate self-discipline and leadership qualities, franchising is becoming a no-brainer for people who have served in the military.
VetFran (Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative Program) was launched during the Gulf War in 1991 by a businessman interested in helping our nation's veterans reap the benefits of franchise ownership.
By enlisting the participation of major companies, VetFran offers veterans franchise terms not available to ordinary franchisees. Although each company determines its own financial benefits for veterans, these benefits regularly include initial franchise fee discounts, training fee waivers, and other incentives that reduce the upfront cost of franchise ownership.
VetFran's other mission is to provide veterans with information about franchising in an effort to help them more easily navigate the franchising process. It doesn't hurt that this program is extensively supported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Veterans Corporation and the SBA, as well as other government agencies.
Through this effort, veterans can learn more about franchising in general as well as specific information about avenues of assistance for getting started.
Veterans' Self-Employment Act
In 2005, a bill was introduced in Congress that would allow veterans to apply their educational assistance funds to defray training costs associated with the purchase of franchise enterprises. For veterans, this could represent a significant savings in the amount needed to open their own franchise.
Although the outcome of this bill is still pending, the government remains acutely aware of the benefits of franchise ownership and regularly offers incentives to make franchising more viable for veterans.
Vet Scholarship Programs
Veterans qualify for a number of franchising scholarship programs that are not available to their peers. These scholarships are often privately funded by businesses and individuals who have succeeded in franchising and are now in a position to give something back to others. These scholarships usually amount to several thousand dollars, which can be a big help when cash is tight during the startup phase.
Many veterans are unaware of the fact that they may already have a leg up on other prospective franchisees. One of the fastest growing segments of the franchising market is international franchising - opening franchises in locations outside of the U.S. Since veterans frequently serve on military bases outside of the U.S., it's possible for them to parlay their international experience into a viable franchise international franchise.