The Franchise Ascension Initiative

International Franchise Association
1900 K Street, NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20006

Copyright © 2024


International Franchise Association
1900 K Street, NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20006

The Franchise Ascension Initiative (FAI) is a 6-month accelerator program aimed at preparing qualified individuals from underrepresented groups and economically disadvantaged communities with the education, mentorship, resources, and support to successfully launch a career in franchise ownership.

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The goal of the initiative is to narrow the wealth gap by catalyzing diversity in ownership in franchising.

Franchising is a viable path towards wealth creation for all. Franchise businesses create jobs at a rate of 2.3x as high as non-franchise businesses. Franchising is a successful wealth-generation strategy for historically disadvantaged communities, with Black-owned franchise firms earning 2.2x as much in sales compared to Black-owned independent businesses, on average.


The Franchise Ascension Initiative is an immersive six-month program that includes live, virtual instructor-led classes and self-paced online learning. It also provides individual and group mentorship sessions, expert speakers, experiential assignments, case studies, and research opportunities. 

Additionally, participants will attend three IFA franchise events, offering valuable networking opportunities and insights from top entrepreneurs in the field. Aimed at ensuring everyone's success, this six-month experience is tailored to educate, support, and equip participants to develop and present their franchise business concept at the 2025 IFA Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.  For anyone who can dedicate 10-15 hours a week and is eager to kickstart their career in franchising, the Inaugural Franchise Ascension Initiative Class is an opportunity not to be missed.

Why wait? Applying is free of charge, and the program comes at no cost. For those accepted into the Inaugural class, there's just a $1000 refundable deposit. Apply for the Inaugural Franchise Ascension Initiative Class today. Application deadline is June 15. The journey begins in August 2024!

Who would be a good candidate for this program?

The program will target five audiences who are top prospective franchisee candidates:

  1. College Degree Seeking Candidates –This audience pursues franchise ownership as an alternative career path. Ideally graduate school candidates, although undergraduate candidates in community colleges and vocational tracks are also welcomed.

  2. Fractional or Outright Path to Ownership for Experienced Business Managers - Managers with 5+ years of successful management-level experience (in franchise, retail or other systems) who are interested in owning their own business either 100% outright or via a fractional path to ownership with store management.  

  3. Conversion Franchising - Existing business owners with a single unit or two that want to grow their business as part of a larger proven franchise system with support and resources and who may not be aware of franchising as a growth path for their business.

  4. Corporate Career Change - Individuals undergoing career changes who may not be aware of the opportunities in franchising. 

  5. High Performing Franchisees - These candidates will self-identify or be selected by franchisors with the potential for multi-unit ownership.

Resources and support include:
Participants will also have additional access to mentors, legal experts, financial experts, successful franchisees, & franchise consultants. At the end of this program you will be "highly qualified" for a franchise and you'll have established an amazing support group.


Program commitment consists of approximately 10-15 hours per week, plus travel to 3 IFA events.




The Franchise Ascension Initiative Founding Committee

Omar & Raynya Simmons
David Humphrey Ignite Fitness Holdings

Mike Isakson | Mid Ocean Partners
Dan Monaghan | Clear Summit Group

Ericka Garza | Workstream
Kathy Gosser | Yum! Center for Global Franchise Excellence, University of Louisville
Earsa Jackson | Clark Hill
Richard Snow | Bremer Bank
Carolyn Thurston | Wisdom Senior Care
Steve White | PuroClean
Edith Wiseman | FRANdata
Robert Huntington | Metric Collective
Matt Haller | IFA



Application Now Open


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The Franchise Ascension Initiative is designed to equip participants with
 vital education, mentorship, coaching, and hands-on experience, preparing and empowering them to pursue a franchise opportunity of their choice. The goal is for all class members to either acquire a franchise or secure employment within a franchise company.


Beyond the meaningful impact the initiative can make on narrowing the wealth gap, the program will increase the diverse franchisee talent pipeline and catalyze scores of qualified, talented entrepreneurs to establish and grow franchise businesses. The program will also expose scores of individuals to the possibilities of franchise ownership and careers in franchising through outreach to underrepresented groups and economically disadvantaged communities during the applicant recruitment process.

Structured Online Training

  • Required courses in franchise fundamentals
  • Business management and leadership courses

Interactive / Experiential Learning

  • Individual and peer group mentorship 
  • Speaker engagements with franchise leaders 
  • Light travel including field trips, IFA events, and case studies  

Pitch Contest Case Study

  • Develop franchise business plan and present to a panel of successful franchisee, franchisor and supplier judges, some of whom may have franchise opportunities available



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Photos: Omar and Raynya Simmons speaking on the Franchise Ascension Initiative at the 2024 IFA Annual Convention

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