leadership
Give Back to Those Who Serve: Hire a Veteran

By Robert Cresanti, CFE
 
Veterans are such an important part of the franchising community. Military training and the skills learned in the armed forces — leadership, teamwork, a strong work ethic and results-oriented attitude, perseverance, adaptability and conflict resolution, to name a few — are a natural fit for transitioning to a career in franchising and small business ownership.
 
IFA takes the mission to hire more veterans seriously on numerous fronts. In 1991, the late Don Dwyer, Sr. founded IFA’s Veteran Transition Initiative, or VetFran, to help veterans returning from the first Gulf War. The program has expanded steadily since then, with VetFran’s member companies now totaling more than 600. There are over 6,000 veterans who have become franchise business owners and more than 238,000 veterans have started careers in franchising since 2011 (read more).
As someone who grew up in a military family, I’ve seen how hard it can be for veterans to get a job after they return from service, and for significant others to get a job while their spouse is overseas. Increasing hiring and entrepreneurship opportunities for veterans is one of seven top priorities in IFA’s recently released 2017 Franchise Public Policy Platform (franchise.org/policy-platform). Considering the sacrifices that veterans and their families have made, it’s the right thing to do and just as important, it’s in the economic interests of the business community. Federal, state and local elected officials should offer more incentives for companies to hire veterans, giving them the opportunity to continue serving their communities as local entrepreneurs.
 
IFA’s publications highlight veterans in franchising throughout the year, with increased articles and columns around the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 29 and Veteran’s Day on Saturday, Nov. 11.
 
This edition of the magazine is packed full of useful information for companies looking to start and expand existing veteran programs. One such resource is the Military Officer’s Association of America (MOAA), whose program director for its Career Transitions team, Lt. Col. Ginni Guiton (Ret.), describes why veterans should consider franchise ownership. Then there’s snapshots of successful veteran’s programs at IFA member companies Marriott International and Two Men And A Truck.
 
Also in this issue: Don’t miss an impassioned article on page 27 from Tabbassum Mumtaz, President and CEO of Ampex Brands, which won a 2016 Franchising Gives Back Gold award for its work with Snowball Express, an organization that serves the children of fallen heroes. Mumtaz explains why partnering with charities that serve veterans and their families has given Ampex employees a deeper sense of purpose and a perspective that can only be achieved through giving back to those who serve.
IFA’s commitment to veterans extends to other areas. Stories of veterans in the franchising community are part of the @OurFranchise campaign and tour, which tells the positive stories of franchising. During an @OurFranchise tour stop through Virginia Beach in August 2016, I co-hosted a panel with FranNet Owner Marc Steiner that highlighted initiatives for veterans to become small business owners in the veteran-rich area. Events like these will continue in 2017 and beyond. Find out more about IFA’s @OurFranchise campaign and tour here: www.atourfranchise.org. Contact our editors through the “Share Your Story” tab. We would love to highlight your journey from the military to a career in franchising.
 
The next time you’re looking for a franchisee, store manager or other career position that requires a hard-working self-starter, consider hiring a veteran. Looking to start or expand a veteran’s program at your franchise? Visit vetfran.com for insights and help IFA spread the message that veterans are essential to the franchise business model.