Opening a new franchise location is no small undertaking. Even with a good amount of capital and assistance from the franchisor, there is still a lot to know to simply get the doors open. The National Franchise Institute, which educates franchise professionals about the intricacies of opening new locations, has created the Hand-Up Scholarship Program to help franchise professionals do just that.
Entrepreneurs who become part of the franchise industry often bring capital and experience from previous careers to the franchise table. They are already hard-working, successful professionals with a desire to learn and earn more.
“Franchising is exciting,” says Carolyn Miller, founder of the National Franchise Institute. “Even with all of the documented processes and procedures that make the franchise industry so successful, many new franchisees need additional help when it comes to knowing all there is to know about building new locations.”
“There is a huge difference between a hand up and a hand out,” explains Miller. “The hard work that franchise professionals invest in their companies proves that they don’t need a hand out – but sometimes, they do need a hand up.”
The Hand-Up Scholarship Program is a pay-it-forward opportunity that helps to strengthen the franchise industry. By pairing already-successful franchise professionals with newcomers to the industry, there is a domino effect of success that extends for years.
“Few successful franchise professionals became successful without help from a number of different sources,” says Miller. “It’s exciting to spend time with franchisors, franchisees, and even suppliers and service providers who have ‘made it’ in the franchise world. Without exception, each one of them can easily reflect back to their own humble beginnings. They know the struggles they faced and they remember the people and the companies who were there to help them along the way. It becomes a significant milestone in each one’s franchise career when they are able to be ‘that’ person for someone else.”
“The idea for the Hand-Up Scholarship Program is actually a creative twist on sponsorship offers,” explains Miller. “The National Franchise Institute has been approached by a number of companies that want to sponsor our programs. While that is an honor, sponsorship funds represent only a two-dimensional benefit: to the Institute and to the sponsor which misses an opportunity to help someone who needs it most: a new franchisee, perhaps even a Veteran who is joining the franchise family.”
As Miller further explains, “By accepting scholarships in lieu of sponsorship dollars, the Hand-Up Scholarship Program becomes a three dimensional benefit: for the Institute, the sponsor, and now for the person whose franchise career will be forever changed by receiving a much-needed hand up in the form of free tuition to attend one of our programs.”
Scholarships can be presented to the Institute on behalf of a specific individual or they can be earmarked for someone that the sponsor doesn’t know yet. “People tend to associate with other people who are more like themselves,” notes Miller. “If they are already experienced, successful professionals themselves, chances are high that their closest business associates have already achieved success in their own rite. They want to help ‘someone’ yet they don’t really know the right ‘someone’. It is exciting for the National Franchise Institute to be able to bring the two together. The Hand-Up Scholarship Program, hands down, is one of the most rewarding gifts to give and is one of the most valuable gifts to receive.”