FranNet of Eastern Tennessee helps many entrepreneurs start businesses each year. But recently, the company has taken on a new mission: putting veterans back to work.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May that the unemployment rate among veterans who have served since the Sept. 11 attacks was 12.1 percent — nearly 50 percent higher than the national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent.
“Our heroes who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve the chance to put their skills and energies to good use as they come back home,” said Jerry Bird, owner of FranNet of Eastern Tennessee. “I’m honored that FranNet can help them build the futures they deserve.”
FranNet helps veterans find franchise opportunities that match their personalities, goals, interests and budgets. FranNet works with more than 100 national franchise brands, offering entrepreneurs free consulting and matchmaking services — whether it means linking someone with a retail giant or home-based business.
Entrepreneurs who have worked with FranNet have succeeded at an astounding rate. Of the more than 1,200 franchise owners who used FranNet from 2006-10, 91 percent were still in business after two years and 85 percent after five — despite the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression. Typical small businesses survive at a 64 percent rate after two years and only 50 percent after five, U.S. Census data show.
“People in Eastern Tennessee are increasingly exploring franchise ownership as an alternative to shaky corporate jobs, where their careers are determined by someone else,” Mr. Bird said. “Small business ownership lets people control their lives and careers, builds equity for resale or retirement and succeeds at a high rate because owners follow established systems.”
Veterans generally are excellent matches for franchise systems, which reward adaptable, detail-oriented, diligent professionals who excel at following prescribed systems.
To help veterans and recognize their value to the franchise industry, International Franchise Association started the VetFran program a decade ago. VetFran members like FranNet offer discounts to veterans to make business ownership more affordable and work to hire veterans within their businesses.
“Franchise companies are eager to have veterans on their teams because they know the skills and leadership experience they offer,” Mr. Bird said. “I’m happy to talk to any veterans about the opportunities they have to start their own businesses. It’s an honor to help any way I can.”