According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate among returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is 10.4% compared to 8.4% for the general population. Among veterans ages 18-24, the unemployment rate is 21.9% compared to 15.3% for their civilian peers.

Concerned by these statistics, hundreds of businesses are offering recent veterans incentives to start their own franchise. Companies like UPS, Dunkin’ Donuts and Bennigan’s restaurants are offering to waive franchise fees, reduce royalty payments and guide veterans through crafting business plans.

For veterans, these incentives result in thousands of dollars in savings and open the door to the career opportunity of a lifetime.

“There’s nothing better than working for yourself and making money for yourself … having something stable for my kids,” say Air Force Master Sgt. Darrel Ferdinand, who hopes to open a UPS store in the next six months.

But when a veteran takes over a franchise, companies also benefit. These private sector opportunities allow veterans to put into practice the skills they learned in the military. Veterans are accustomed to following structure, systems and a proven business model, all of which are the key to success in running a franchise.

UPS Stores president Tim Davis says, “The thing that the veteran really brings (is) … they know how to lead. They’ve developed an appreciation for quality and excellence that’s really been instilled in them. That’s really what franchising is about.”

According to Steve Caldeira, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, the goal of the incentives program is ownerships or jobs for 75,000 veterans and their spouses by 2014. Caldeira says that since November 2012, 475 companies have participated in the program, resulting in franchise opportunities for 4,200 veterans.

Reference

Zoroya, Gregg. “Veterans look to franchising opportunities for new career.” USAToday.com. 14 August 2012.

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