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With Ambitions Galore, NextGen Finalists Pitch Concepts


Abedalrahman Al-Zghoul, creator of Bread for Education in Jordan, makes his pitch to NextGen judges at IFA.

They came from countries including Kenya, Hungary, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and of course the United States to impress the NextGen competition judges and hopefully snag cash prizes and investors during the International Franchise Association’s annual convention Monday.

The 12 finalists, culled from hundreds of applicants, had just three minutes to make their pitches with a goal of explaining how they stand out from competitors and why someone should invest in their concept.

The goal of NextGen, which is in its fifth year, is to create a talent pipeline of future franchisors, franchisees and suppliers by “engaging and educating the next generation,” as founding sponsor and program chairman David McKinnon put it.

To address the “ever increasing need for people to speak English as the global language,” Timea Vas started Don’t Panic English in Hungary, a concept combining online courses and in-person classes.

“Our students can create their own timetables in the online booking system to easily fit their classes around their life,” said Vas, who speaks six different languages and noted she saw a need for a service that teaches “the true way” that English is spoken, versus “the old-fashioned way” it’s taught in Hungary.

Don’t Panic English has seven units open in Hungary and offers 30 different courses “with a 32 percent profit margin,” she said.

Brooke Gagliano explained to the judges how being a collegiate athlete who “fell in love with acai” during a trip to California led to the creation of Frutta Bowls, a superfoods fast-casual café concept she launched in New Jersey in 2016 when she was just 23.

“Everything is completely customizable,” she told the judges, and appeals directly to her target market of millennials and Gen Zers. “The customer can see everything that’s going into the blender.”

The average unit volume in 2018 of the nine locations operating for 12 months was $480,000, pointed out business partner Chris Ives, with the top 50 percent achieving AUVs of more than $615,000.

In Saudi Arabia, Rihab Hasanain started Blooming Bs (Blooming Box, Brain & Body) as a way to address the lack of healthy lunch options in schools that she says are contributing to the statistic that one in four kids in the country are overweight.

“We’re trying to temper this issue by providing healthy school canteens and lunch boxes,” and by educating kids and providing activities, she explained.

Parents sign up for the Blooming Bs subscription service and then meals are prepared daily at a commissary kitchen and delivered to the schools and childcare facilities. She noted a 25 percent profit margin on each meal and they’re selling more than 45,000 meals a day.

Frutta Bowls, What’s Your Flan?, a home-based dessert concept in the Philippines, and City Cave, an Australian health and wellness center brand, all advanced, along with A Water Kiosk at School in the social category. The finalists will present their business plans Wednesday, February 27, to IFA Convention attendees and final round judges Carly Fiorina, Suzanne Deluca Greco and Shelly Sun, with the final winner selected by audience participation. The IFA 2019 Convention runs through Wednesday at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.


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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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