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Are you a veteran looking to start your own franchise operation? Did you know that VetFran is an organization of nearly 400 franchise companies that offer financial incentives to honorably discharged veterans? One member, the Maid Brigade, is actually giving away franchises to US military veterans this year.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a Center for Veterans Enterprise. One program of that center is the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, or VetFran. VetFran is a voluntary program of the International Franchise Association and offers financial incentives to honorably-discharged veterans who want to open their own franchises. Click on the logo of a company listed on the VetFran Web page to see its veteran’s discounts. Many VetFran members offer veterans a 10-25% discount on the initial franchising fee. Little Caesar’s is an example of a company that goes even farther, offering special benefits to service-disabled vets that can include a waived franchising fee ($20,000), additional financing options and benefits, a $10,000 credit on the initial equipment order and grand opening marketing support from leading national companies, for a total value of as much as $68,000.

One very interesting offer comes from the Maid Brigade company this year. It has announced the Maid Brigade Veterans Franchise Giveaway™, through which it plans to give away $1.5 million in Maid Brigade franchise ownership opportunities to qualified veterans. The contest started on July 4th and ends on Veterans Day, November 11th. Applications must be submitted online no later than September 30th, 2009. The grand prize, or Gold Award, is a Maid Brigade Select Market Franchise – valued at $45,000 – which includes: a $14,500 franchise fee; a $3,000 equipment package; $27,500 in working capital; and a one-week, all-inclusive training program at Maid Brigade headquarters in Atlanta, airfare and hotel provided. There are also Silver and Bronze Awards, plus waived franchise fees for up to 100 qualified entrants. For more details on the contest, go to www.maidbrigadegiveaway.com.

To learn more about owning your own franchise, take a look at the resources on the Center for Veterans Enterprise Web page. Even with assistance, starting up a franchise is a big step and you want to be sure you are fully prepared before you start!