IFA Formalizes Platform To Help Professional Athletes Become Franchisees

October 31, 2011 // Franchising.com // WASHINGTON - The International Franchise Association (IFA) and the Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative (PAFI) today announced a new Memorandum of Understanding to further enhance their partnership to provide a centralized platform for athletes seeking to get involved in the franchise industry and for franchisors interested in getting involved with the professional athlete community.

"With more than 825,000 franchise establishments supporting nearly 18 million U.S. jobs on nearly every main street in America, we welcome the opportunity to bring more professional athletes into our ranks," said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira. "Professional athletes are strong leaders in the ultra-competitive sports arena, so they inherently understand the importance of working as a team and as part of a system to achieve success."

Through the partnership, IFA and PAFI will develop an Athlete Franchisee Education Program. Athletes who complete the program will receive a Certificate of Completion designed to make them more attractive to prospective franchisors. The athletes who complete the PAFI Franchisee Education Program and become franchise owners will receive credit toward the attainment of Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) designation, administered by the IFA Educational Foundation.

"Professional athletes are becoming more conscious about the longevity of their careers and realizing more effort should be placed into planning for a professional life beyond sports," said PAFI Founder and Executive Director Michael Stone. "The PAFI approach is to educate the professional athlete community on the specific value proposition that the franchise model provides. The IFA partnership will accelerate the development and delivery of our programming and coaching."

Many well-known and successful professional athletes have already taken a path to franchise business ownership within well-established and emerging franchise brands. They include Jamal Mashburn (Papa John's and Outback Steakhouse), Junior Bridgeman (Wendy's and Chili's), Tim Biakabatuka (Bojangles), Drew Gooden (WingStop), George Tinsley (KFC, TGIF, Burger King, Pizza Hut), Tyoka Jackson (IHOP), Angelo Crowell (Jersey Mike's), Dewayne White (Dunkin' Donuts), Venus Williams (Jamba Juice), Shaquille O'Neal (Auntie Anne's), Willie McGinest (WingStop), Roosevelt Colvin (The UPS Store), Nate Wayne (Coldstone Creamery), Leonard Davis (Smash Burger), Drew Brees (Jimmy John's), Ron Stone (WingStop) Gerris Wilkerson and James Butler (Golden Corral) and recently Reggie Bush, Dennis Northcutt, Cory Ivy and Keyshawn Johnson entered into franchise deals (Panera Bread).

"Utilizing a coaching-style approach, IFA and PAFI will educate both franchisors and athletes about the unique attributes of franchising and demonstrate how franchising allows athletes to take the court or field with a new playbook to own their own business, once their playing days are over," said Stan Friedman, CFE, senior vice president, FranConnect, and chair of the PAFI advisory board.

As part of the partnership, IFA and PAFI will co-develop Franchise Summits for professional athletes and franchisors, while also providing resources to produce publications such as the PAFI Playbook.

Tim Biakabutuka, Tyoka Jackson and Jamal Mashburn will also speak during the New Markets Summit at IFA's 52nd Annual Convention. Scheduled for Feb. 11-14 in Orlando, Fl., the 52nd IFA Annual Convention will highlight the franchise industry's focus on how franchising builds local businesses, one opportunity at a time. The 52nd annual event will help attract upwards of 3,000 franchise community professionals seeking to build on their franchise expertise and professional networks through unrivalled educational content, professional development opportunities and the exhibit hall showcase.

About PAFI

PAFI is a bridge that connects the professional athlete community to the franchise community through education, research and interaction. PAFI fulfills its mission by partnering with stakeholders in the professional sports and franchise communities to build education based programming for professional athletes interested in learning about the franchise model and franchisors and suppliers interested in discovering ways to open doors to this niche audience. www.thepafi.org

About the International Franchise Association

The International Franchise Association is the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. Celebrating over 50 years of excellence, education and advocacy, IFA works through its government relations, media relations and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising. Through its media awareness campaign highlighting the theme, Franchising: Building Local Businesses, One Opportunity at a Time, IFA promotes the economic impact of the franchise industry, which supports nearly 18 million jobs and $2.1 trillion of economic output for the U.S. economy. IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in marketing, law and business development.

Alisa Harrison, 202-628-8000
Matthew Haller, 202-662-0770



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