Black Americans Can Now Apply To New Initiative Working Toward Franchise Ownership

For the first time in its 64-year history, the International Franchise Association (IFA) is taking applications from minority candidates, including Black Americans, to help them potentially become business owners.

It is part of the  Franchise Ascension Initiative (FAI), a six-month accelerator program. It will leverage IFA’s education programs, access to capital, and other resources to help qualified individuals from underrepresented communities gain opportunities to pursue a career in franchise ownership.

Franchising has emerged as a proven way for Black Americans to make money as business owners in multiple industries. The effort aims to help narrow the wealth gap by enlarging the franchise talent pipeline.

Consider that, per data from Oxford Economics, one in three franchise owners report they would not own their businesses without the concept. To boot, Black-owned franchises reportedly earn, on average, over two times more than Black-owned independent businesses.

BLACK ENTERPRISE was informed that over $2 million has been committed to the FAI from franchise brands, individuals, and partner organizations. See some of the donors stepping up to back the cause.

Applications for FAI are being accepted through June 15. The industry’s largest trade group, IFA, will select 15-20 qualified individuals to participate. Those interested in owning their own business but don’t know where to start will get training and support to help increase diversity in franchising.

First launched at the IFA Annual Convention in Phoenix in February 2024, FAI was envisioned by Omar Simmons, IFA Board Member and Managing Director of Exaltare Capital Partners, and his wife Raynya, based on a news release. He was partnering with IFA on the effort. They provided the program’s initial donation and talked about it here.

IFA President and CEO Matt Haller reflected on FAI in his comments, “Franchising is one of the greatest pathways to business ownership and creating generational wealth, he commented. “FAI to opportunity is available to everyone, regardless of background. What better way to bridge the wealth gap than by opening more doors for aspiring business owners from all walks of life?

Simultaneously, the program comes as access to capital remains challenging for small business owners, particularly Black entrepreneurs. Yet, IFA hopes to help candidates overcome that hurdle by providing tools, networking, and education to help them become more capital-ready.

Further, this report touches on “supporting the franchise business model could be a helpful tool to encourage higher rates of entrepreneurship among women, non-white, and other underrepresented groups—without cost to taxpayers.”

The FAI curriculum includes building a business plan and learning how to secure funding to set up and grow franchise businesses. Participants will also be introduced to capital providers and gain insight from mentors, seasoned, successful franchisees, legal experts, and franchise consultants. Once the program ends, the goal is to have participants adept at franchise ownership armed with a strong support group.

Learn who the program will target as leading franchisee candidates here and more details about the effort.

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