VetFran: Franchise Opportunities for Veterans
At the IFA Convention in San Diego in February, Lillie Burroughs of Franchise Direct spoke with a number of people about one of the most exciting initiatives in franchising today, the Veteran transition franchise initiative, otherwise known as VetFran.
VetFran was started after the first Gulf War, and was recently brought back and rebranded by the IFA
“We have several hundred franchisors who participate in the program,” says Matthew Shay, IFA president. “The commitment that they make is to offer to a honourably-discharged veterans of our armed forces a better deal than to anyone else who walks in off the street.”
Veterans certainly constitute a growing group of potential entrepreneurs. According to estimates by Drew Myers of RecruitMilitary, 190,000 people get out of the military every year and an extra 110,000 – 120,000 reservists or National Guard members finish deployment abroad.
VetFran was launched by Don Dwyer, Sr. His daughter, Dina Dwyer-Evans, is currently chairwoman of the IFA and a strong believer in the spirit of VetFran.
“My father was a veteran himself and he thought ‘these men and women are out there risking their lives to protect our freedom, especially the free enterprise system,'” Dina says. “As a franchise community, we should do something to say we appreciate you. He came up with the idea of ‘let’s give veterans something special, let’s give them something that nobody else is providing them, which is access to their own business.’”
The IFA took over the reigns of VetFran after 9/11 and over 1,300 veterans have now become franchisees because of it.
“We’re very proud of that program,” says Matthew Shaw. “We continue to promote it aggressively, and it’s going to play an increasingly important role as we see greater numbers of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other parts of the world and who need to make that transition back into civilian life.”