March 24, 2008 // Franchising.com // College students who dream of owning their own business some day can now do it faster thanks to an innovative grant program offered by Weed Man. The lawn care company is offering $10,000 grants toward franchise ownership to students enrolled in horticultural or other green industry college degree programs.
Weed Man's Student Entrepreneur Grant program will be unveiled at this year's Student Career Days in Atlanta, Ga. March 27-30. The three-day event is sponsored annually by the Professional Landcare Network, PLANET, which is the primary trade association for green industry professionals.
"A good percentage of students in the green industry would ultimately like to become owners or partners in landscaping, lawn maintenance or lawn care companies," commented Mike Richard, Weed Man's Marketing Coordinator. "That's because it's the surest way to financial success in our industry. Weed Man wants to help students achieve their goals sooner."
The grants represent one-half the cost of a single franchise territory. Richard explained that students have options for obtaining the remaining financing including partnerships or third party financing arranged with the help of Weed Man.
"In the green industry it's common for parents and children to become partners in their businesses," continued Richard. "We encourage those partnerships because they bring together youthful energy and enthusiasm with more experienced and business savvy adults."
More than half of the United States Weed Man franchises are partnerships. Many are parents and their children while others are siblings, spouses and even grandparents and grandchildren.
If students prefer to learn the Weed Man business model before taking the plunge into ownership, the company has options for those individuals as well. Summer internships and two—to four-year apprenticeships are also available.
During summer internships, students participate in a variety of modules. They include technical, marketing, management and administrative tracks that last anywhere from two or three weeks to the entire summer. Students may receive college credit while learning about everything from fertilizer application to marketing to quality control to budgeting.
Weed Man also offers students a four-year apprenticeship–ownership incentive program. Students learn the Weed Man systems while accumulating up to $20,000 toward a Weed Man franchise purchase.
Students at PLANET's Career Day in Atlanta this month will find out more about these Weed Man ownership opportunities. The event will host nearly 60 colleges and universities that specialize in horticultural studies. There are approximately 800 students expected to attend from those institutions.
Unlike many other businesses, the green industry in general and the lawn care industry in particular are growing. Richard explained that the two main reasons for this continued growth are due to the number of maturing baby boomers with more disposable income as well as the increase in dual-income families.
"People are looking to have more quality time with their families," commented Richard. "They are using service companies like ours to help shed their household chores and free up their leisure time."
Across the United States the green industry represents more than $67 billion annually and averages $3 billion of growth each year explained Richard.
"The earning potential in lawn care is huge. The students taking advantage of Weed Man's unique funding programs have a good chance of being way ahead of their peers in the long run."