As tens of thousands of service men and women return from deployment in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan starting this summer, the IFA will be lobbying Congress to re-introduce the Help Our Veterans Own Franchise Act (HVOF), to do our part to ensure that America’s brave young men and women returning from all corners of the world have opportunities to become entrepreneurs and transition to successful lives in the civilian economy.
For veterans, unemployment rose to 12.1 percent in May from 10.6 percent a year ago, so with President Barack Obama declaring June 22 that he will withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by September 2012, now is a critical time to ramp up the awareness of franchise business ownership as a path for America’s veterans returning home to go into business for themselves and put the skills they’ve learned in the battlefield to use owning and operating their own franchise business.
Last week in Washington, IFA’s senior team met with Mary Kennedy Thompson, President of Mr. Rooter (The Dwyer Group) at the IFA Office. Mary is a Marine Corps veteran, chairs the VetFran Committee, and is 110% dedicated to leading the IFA’s efforts to pass the bill and take VetFran to a new level of success.
The Help Our Veterans Own Franchises Act will offer franchisors a tax credit for recruiting veteran franchisees, and it will also offer veteran franchisees a credit on the balance of fees not covered by VetFran franchisors.
At its recent board meeting in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, the IFA Board of Directors approved additional financial resources to place a greater focus on VetFran and re-introducing the bill on Capitol Hill, including a paid media campaign to support the introduction of the bill in July and to further support this important effort.
VetFran was born out of the desire of the late Don Dwyer Sr., founder of The Dwyer Group, to say thank you to our veterans returning from the first Gulf War. Reborn and re-energized by his daughter, Dina Dwyer-Owens after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, VetFran’s ranks have grown to include more than 403 franchise systems that voluntarily offer financial incentives to veterans seeking to become franchise small-business owners. Through the VetFran program, more than 2000 servicemen and women have become franchisees and more are joining every month.
IFA will launch Operation Building Opportunity at the September 2011 IFA Public Affairs Conference. In a special reception in the Rayburn Foyer of the U.S. Congress, IFA will honor all those veterans who are franchisees, with special recognition of those who have recruited and assisted other veterans in successfully transitioning to franchising careers. The IFA will announce franchisor and franchisee partners in a reception to include senior military and veteran officials, along with Members of Congress, kicking off a multi-tiered education campaign to alert veterans and their families to Operation Building Opportunity.
We need your help identifying current veteran franchisees as we launch this stepped-up campaign. We are also seeking stories, anecdotes, and photos of veteran franchisees. Please contact Jenna Weisbord at firstname.lastname@example.org to support this important campaign.