Global Competition Invites Young Entrepreneurs with Big Ideas to Explore Opportunities and Connect with the Franchise Industry

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The average age of the world population is under 30, and with one billion young people entering the workforce, the [International Franchise Association Educational Foundation (IFAEF) is launching a bold new initiative to introduce them to the world of franchising. Through a comprehensive marketing and educational campaign millions will be exposed to the franchise business model as they’ve never seen it before.

The “Young Entrepreneurs in Franchising Contest” is currently encouraging students and young entrepreneurs around the world to submit concepts for new franchise businesses or marketing ideas for existing franchise brands for the chance to win cash prizes, scholarships, and sponsored trips to the IFA Annual Convention next February in Las Vegas, Nevada. The contest is being marketed to global youth organizations, business and entrepreneurship professors, and on major social media platforms.

With global youth employment and entrepreneurship education being touted as two of the most critical challenges to solve on the world stage, IFAEF is stepping forward to present this $840 billion industry, overflowing with entrepreneurial opportunities and jobs, as a powerful network that can make a serious impact. This effort is encouraging young people to explore opportunities to WORK, INVEST or BUILD; essentially, pursue employment in the franchising industry, consider ownership of a franchise business, or use the franchise model to start a business or expand an existing one.

“I am so excited about NextGen In Franchising because these young people are the future of our industry and we need to reach out to them to get them involved now, in a meaningful way,” said Melanie Bergeron, chair of the board, Two Men & A Truck, and incoming IFA chairman.

“There is a huge talent pool of young entrepreneurs out there that we need to tap into to bring new ideas for new businesses and new thinking into our industry,” said Aziz Hashim, CEO, NRD Holdings and incoming IFA vice chairman. “I only wish that such a program existed when I was starting my business.”

A new dedicated NextGen in Franchising website,, tells the story of franchising in a fresh new way to young entrepreneurs. Profiles of young leaders in the field, dynamic emerging brands and franchise icons bring the world of franchising to life, and aim to connect more intimately with the entrepreneurial spirit so prevalent in this next generation. The site promotes franchise education, scholarships, the new Students in Franchising program, membership and participation at the IFA’s Annual Convention. Opportunities are the other major draw, offering internships, information about jobs, franchise ownership, and resources for ambitious start-ups that aspire to grow into big brands.

The new initiative is being funded as part of the IFAEF’s $10 million Shaping the Future of Franchising campaign. The NextGen program has attracted more than $1.5 million in donations from major corporations, foundations and individuals. The major donors are The Stewart & Jane Bainum Fund, The Stephen P. Joyce Fund, the Choice Hotels Foundation, the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Tariq Farid, CEO, Edible Arrangements, Charlie Chase, President & CEO, FirstService Brands, Inc., Aziz Hashim, President and CEO, NRD Holdings, Amit Kleinberger, CEO, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, Joe Bourdow, Senior Advisor, Valpak, Melanie Bergerson, Chair of the Board, Two Men & A Truck, Amit Pamecha, CEO, FranConnect, and Lawrence “Doc” Cohen, President, DOC & Associates.

Spearheading this campaign is a global youth education and marketing agency. YSN created the recent SUBWAY® Global Challenge with Subway’s founder Fred DeLuca, who started the company when he was 17 with a $1000 investment. Through that effort, young entrepreneurs in 100 countries engaged in a business simulation game building their own virtual SUBWAY® stores and driving interest in exploring careers in franchising on a global scale.

IFA’s Annual Convention 2015 will feature the first NextGen Summit, hosting 50+ young entrepreneurs selected from contest and scholarship winners, Students in Franchising chapters, IFA member companies and partners like DECA – a leading global youth leadership organization. The Summit will provide opportunities for franchisor, franchisee and supplier members of IFA to engage directly with young people and students. IFA members will be encouraged to partner with colleges and universities in their communities that are participating in the NextGen program. An internship and mentoring program is also in the works.

The Young Entrepreneurs in Franchising Contest will run through December 1, 2014 a week after Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 17-23) and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech (November 19-21).
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