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Minorities and Women in Franchising

Owning one's own business has always been a key tenet of the American Dream, but it's one that's been out of reach for many, especially women and minorities. The reasons? Lack of opportunity, capital, experience, and training. Fortunately, these precedents are changing. Business opportunities for women and minorities, particularly franchises, are expanding, and ample assistance is available to interested persons, providing them with the help they need to become self-employed.

Otherwise capable small investors, especially women and minorities, are often hampered by their lack of business/managerial experience, and investment capital. Increasingly, minorities and women have discovered that the franchise paradigm offers an easier path to business ownership. Franchising isn't a panacea, but it does aid women and minorities in overcoming traditional obstacles. When one buys a franchise, he's provided training and assistance on an on-going basis. He has resources for help and mentorship. Some franchisers provide aid with financing, offer equipment financing and sale-leaseback programs, arrange for property leases, etc.

Women are increasingly in positions of franchising leadership, whether in new companies, establishing single or multi-unit franchises, or in high-level positions at corporate headquarters. In 2004, the Center for Women's Business Research reported that an estimated 10.6 million privately held firms, 50% or more owned by woman, accounted for nearly half (47.7%) of all privately held businesses in America. Together they employ 19.1 people and generate 2.46 trillion dollars in annual sales. As the population of minorities in the United States rises, minority franchising will rise as well, following the example set by women.

The International Franchise Association (IFA)'s Minorities in Franchising Committee and the IFA's Educational Foundation's Diversity Institute work providing the research, education and outreach programs necessary to expand minority franchising opportunities. The IFA's Women's Franchise Committee has created a network of business professionals dedicated to strengthening the success of women in franchising. They inspire and encourage women, and have created a number of instructional programs that range from "how to" guides to informative seminars to the establishment of local networking chapters nationwide.

There is much to consider when going into business. The franchise model provides an already paved road to success for the hardworking person with initiative. Prospective franchisees learn from experienced franchisers, who share their experiences and advice. Franchising provides those seeking business ownership with many resources, legal, financial, technical and more. There is perhaps no smoother route to the end goal of business ownership.

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