Veterans Franchise Toolkit & Mentor Network to Launch

Toolkit and network to aid veterans in business ownership and employment

As July 4th approaches, with unemployment rates for some groups of veterans hovering over 18%, IFA is partnering with The Veterans of Foreign Wars(VFW) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes initiative to launch new tools and resources June 28, 2012 in 13 cities to help veterans access opportunities in small business ownership and employment including a new free online Veterans Franchise Toolkit and a new Mentor Network to connect veterans to business leaders and jobs.

The Veterans Franchise (VetFran) Toolkit is designed to foster access to franchise employment and ownership opportunities for U.S. veterans and military spouses. The franchise industry has committed to hiring as team members and recruiting as franchise business owners 75,000 veterans and military spouses, plus 5,000 wounded warriors. Over 6,200 veterans and spouses have started careers in franchising since the campaign launched last year. Human resources testing firm Caliper Corporation, and BoeFly, the online finance marketplace, contributed services at no charge to power the Toolkit.  

The VetFran Toolkit includes a Franchising 101 online course, a skills and attributes assessment, a finance assessment, and partner links. Veterans and their spouses will also be able to access the VetFran Mentor Network through the Toolkit.  

The VetFran Mentor Network Advisory Board will lead the volunteer network, including:  

Gordon Logan, Founder & CEO, Sport Clips, Inc. (Chairman) (USAF)  

Melanie Bergeron, Chair of the Board, Two Men & A Truck  

Sean Collins, Vice President, GI Jobs and (USN)  

Jerry Darnell, Darnell & Associates (US Army)  

Ted Daywalt, President & CEO, (USN)  

Chuck Southern, VA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization  

Greg Tanner, National Director of Franchise Sales, Aaron’s (US Army)  

Mary Kennedy Thompson, President & CEO, Mr. Rooter (USMC)  

Bob Wallace, Executive Director, The Veterans of Foreign Wars  

More information about joining the Mentor Network will take place Friday, June 23 at 10:00 am ET in a conference call. (Dial-in 1.866.740.1260 passcode 7775360). Please contact Josh Merin at to join the Mentor Network as a volunteer.  

With its training, structure, systems and focus on operational excellence, franchising can provide an ideal career path for returning veterans to become leaders in the civilian economy. According to the U.S. Census, there are over 66,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses in the U.S. IFA’s VetFran strategic initiative was launched in 1991 to help Gulf War veterans transition.  

Launch events will take place in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Houston, Miami/South Florida, Minneapolis, Nashville, Norfolk, Austin, San Diego, Tampa-St. Petersburg, and Washington, D.C.

“As we continue to work hard each and every day to extend career opportunities to our nation’s veterans, we commend our members who are participating in the VetFran Toolkit launch events and volunteering in the VetFran Mentor Network  – they are setting the right example for our industry and our entire nation,” said Steve Caldeira, CFE, IFA’s President & CEO. “As we celebrate Independence Day, let us remember that our freedom comes at a price. Now we need to enable our nation’s veterans to fulfill their dreams and find career opportunities here at home.”

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