VETFRAN 2015

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The International Franchise Association (IFA) held its annual convention in Las Vegas from February 15 – 18.

On President’s Day, the IFA ºEducational Foundation hosted its annual VetFran Chairman Corps Reception to thank the generous donors of the program. The Nellis Air Force Base Honor Guard opened the ceremony with the presentation of the colors. Outgoing chairman of the VetFran 2015 VetFran Committee, Joe Lindenmayer, welcomed the crowd and extended a thank you to the program’s dedicated sponsors.

The VetFran Committee met on Sunday, February 15, to discuss the accomplishments of the past year and to discuss priorities for the upcoming year. VetFran received the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) highest honor in 2014, the “Power of A Gold Award” for its industry-wide effort to hire and recruit 80,000 veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors. Since Veteran’s Day 2011, through Operation Enduring Opportunity, 203,890 veterans have found career opportunities in the franchise industry, with 5,608 becoming small business ownrs, far surpassing the OEO goals.

VetFran committee members conducted workshops for veterans throughout the year, including the Franchise Expos in Houston, New York, and Los Angeles, and focused on women veterans (Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship – V-WISE).

In May, VetFran led a panel discussion at the Service Academy Career Conference to discuss the different aspects of franchising that appeal to military personnel. In October, VetFran sponsored the Simpson Cup event at Congressional Country Club which consisted of wounded warriors from USA and UK joining forces to raise awareness and funds for supporting these heroes.

Another highlight included a presentation, an Introduction to Franchising, by Ben Litalien at the Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) National Graduate Training Conference in November in San Antonio, Texas. On November 12, at Joint Base Anacostia, Steve Caldeira and Kevin Blanchard represented the IFA in support of the Chamber of Commerce Hiring our Heroes job fair. The program announced the commitment to hire 500,000 veterans. Gordon Logan, the incoming Chairman of the VetFran Committee stated “this year we will be focusing on providing the absolute best opportunities to our Veterans through the VetFran program, which includes concerted efforts to get the word out to Veterans, active duty service men and women about the opportunities available to them through the VetFran programs.

We want to publicize not only franchise ownership possibilities but also employment opportunities with VetFran member companies.

Our new website will be a big step in this direction, thanks to our partners Qiigo, whom provided the web site to us at no charge as a service to our Veterans.”

Furthermore, VetFran will continue its effort with the Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes Program to help veterans learn about jobs in franchising and also future franchise ownership possibilities. Additionally, VetFran will continue cooperative efforts with the

Small Business Administration (SBA) and Marriott to promote the franchising concept to veterans. A co-sponsored event with the SBA and Marriott is planned for November 3, 2015, titled Franchising Focuses on Connecting Veteran-Owned- Small Businesses to Corporate Supply Chain– Learn how your small business can service corporate supply chains. This will be a training on “best practices” for navigating corporate supplier diversity programs.

There are plans to conduct three more of these events during the year to focus on different aspects of franchising.

On a beautiful eighty-degree day, the VetFran committee partnered with the Franchising Gives Back program to take 80 volunteers to serve at Veteran’s Village, a transitional housing facility in Las Vegas. While some adventurous tourists were off enjoying Valentine’s

Day, this group of volunteers decided to take a different tour of Las Vegas. The day before the IFA Annual Convention begins, members of the franchising community came together to support this event, Franchising Gives Back, which is in its fourth year. This program is part of a non-profit initiative coordinated by the IFA Educational Foundation. Each year the program chooses a community project that fosters a sense of community for convention attendees while they lend their time and muscles to help make a difference in a local organization.

The challenge this year was to clean, scrape and paint the exterior of the Veteran’s Village which was once a rundown motel on Las Vegas Boulevard.

While some volunteers painted, others set forth assembling 500 emergency toiletry kits that included a simple but personal thank you note in each one. This year’s event was coordinated through the Las Vegas United Way. Several members of the VetFran committee rolled up their sleeves and participated in this day of service.

Additional information on Franchising Gives Back can be found at www.franchisinggivesback.org or by contacting the program manager, Gionne Jones, at gjones@franchise.org.

Details on the VetFran program can be found at VetFran.com or by contacting the program manager, George G. Eldridge, at geldridge@franchise.org.