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Time for the NextGen to Step Up


Having just interviewed a 22-year-old Erbert & Gerbert’s franchisee from Texas, who impressed the heck out of me, it’s a great time to shine a light on the IFA’s fantastic NextGen in Franchising Global Competition that is accepting applicants for the year. Applications are open through September 30, 2016.

Why should you care about the NextGen program? First of all, our industry is lucky to have it. Like many business sectors, franchising is not nearly as diverse as our country—and diversity is a great way to show the power of franchising for changing people’s lives.

Compared with franchisees who got their start through the generous help of parents, there are significant numbers of people with a much more complex, difficult journey in this business: immigrants who worked hard to build their own business, young people who saved for down payments rather than gap year adventures, hard working parents who juggled youngsters and operations down at the store or restaurant.

In many ways, franchising is a microcosm of the still-alive American dream. Being a reporter in this industry, I’m lucky enough to see that franchising is a diverse industry with widespread appeal. But many people outside of this industry don’t know it, assuming that all these chain stores and restaurants, as well as the healthcare startups and home service companies, are owned by people who started life with a built-in advantage.

The IFA’s NextGen program is truly one of the greatest things about this industry, and a great way to mentor a new generation that’s not burdened by the hang-ups and restrictions that older folks might have. NextGen isn’t just a good thing for the winners, it’s a good thing for anyone who chooses to be a part of this remarkable experiment in cross-generational networking and mentorship.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this program. Click HERE for our previous cover story on the program—still one of my all-time favorite reporting projects. Every one of these “kids” had an incredible story to share.

Here’s the release from IFA:

The International Franchise Association (IFA) Franchise Education & Research Foundation announced today it is accepting applications for its annual NextGen in Franchising Global Competition, a worldwide program that engages young entrepreneurs seeking careers and business opportunities in the franchising industry. Applications are open from Aug. 1–Sept. 30, 2016.

"We are looking for 20 outstanding young entrepreneurs who are poised to take off if given the mentoring and support from franchise business leaders," said David McKinnon, CFE, Foundation vice chair and chair of the NextGen in Franchising Committee. "NextGen is engaging and educating the next generation of young entrepreneurs with a passion for franchising. There is no greater evidence of the success and appeal of the franchise business model than to see young people from around the world embracing it with the excitement, enthusiasm and professionalism of our NextGen winners. Being in a room with them is contagious!"

The NextGen in Franchising Global Competition is open to entrepreneurs ages 21-35 with businesses that have been operating for 1-5 years. Winners receive a trip to the IFA's Annual Convention in Las Vegas from Jan. 28–Feb. 1, 2017; a spot at the NextGen in Franchising Summit, a two-day educational and networking program for next generation entrepreneurs; a 90-day accelerator program with industry leaders and CEOs; an opportunity to participate in the FRANSHARK competition for additional cash prizes; and opportunities to network with leading franchisors, franchisees and suppliers and with other young entrepreneurs.

"The NextGen in Franchising program was an immensely valuable asset that fueled my company's growth and I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate in such an important initiative," said Jennifer Beall, CEO and founder of Tot Squad and a NextGen in Franchising winner. "Through NextGen, I was introduced to one of my company's major investors and active advisors, and his involvement immediately lent credibility to my business and propelled our success. Franchising is an excellent way to scale your company without having to overspend, and NextGen is the perfect introduction into this thriving industry."

"We are truly grateful for the opportunity and experience of being a part of NextGen. The connections made and lessons learned from CEOs and top executives who have walked the walk is something that will assist in propelling our business," said Jai Hobbs, CEO, Paleo Café, a NextGen in Franchising winner.

The NextGen in Franchising program is made possible due to the generosity of its donors and sponsors, which include David McKinnon, the founding sponsor; the Stewart & Jane Bainum Fund; Lawrence "Doc" Cohen, Doc & Associates; Stephen P. Joyce Fund; Choice Hotels Foundation; J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation; Tariq Farid, Edible Arrangements; Charlie Chase, FirstService Brands; Amit Kleinberger, Menchie's Frozen Yogurt; Aziz Hashim, NRD Holdings; Joe Bourdow, Valpak; Melanie Bergeron, Two Men & A Truck Intl.; Amit Pamecha, FranConnect; and the DeLuca Family Foundation.

"We are excited and deeply grateful for the widespread support and donations from major companies, foundations and individuals for the foundation's NextGen in Franchising program," said John Reynolds, CFE, Foundation president. "Their support and dollars are an investment in the future of the franchising industry."

To apply for the NextGen in Franchising Global Competition, visit NextGenFranchising.org. For more information, please contact Elayne Jacobs at elayne@nextgenfranchising.org or call (202) 588-8138.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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