American Money: Is Franchising Right for You?

Black entrepreneurship is on a steady rise, with more African Americans deciding to go into business for themselves.

Today, minority businesses make up almost 15 percent of this country's 28 million small businesses and employ 5.9 million workers in the United States. From 2002 to 2007, the number of black-owned businesses increased by 61 percent to 1.9 million, more than triple the national rate of 18.0 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Business Owners.

But embracing your entrepreneurial spirit does not always require you to start from scratch.

Joining a franchise, which is the agreement or license between two legally independent parties, which gives a person or group of people (franchisee) the right to market a product or service using the trademark or trade name of another business (franchisor), is an alternative. Franchising allows one to mitigate risk, capitalize on national advertising, tap into a proven system and leverage the collective power of other franchise owners in an ever changing and challenging market place.

It's important to note that African Americans remain underrepresented in this arena, meaning their economic potential is not being fully realized. Between 2002 and 2007, African American ownership accounted for just 5 percent of all franchised businesses and only saw a 2% increase.

However, franchising remains one of the most powerful economic tools for African-Americans and other underrepresented groups to realize the American dream of business ownership and bring economic sustainability their communities.

For this reason, we at the NAACP are partnering with Dunkin' Brands to strengthen Dunkin' Brands franchise ownership in communities of color.

Through this partnership, Dunkin' Brands and the NAACP will collaborate to offer people of color in-depth franchising education and training as well as assistance in overcoming the financial challenges related to becoming a franchise owner. This initiative is a part of Dunkin' Brands' ongoing efforts to provide resources to help qualified franchisee candidates overcome barriers associated with financing, including providing guidance on business plan development, facilitating access to capital, and forging relationships with local community lenders.

International Franchise Association (IFA) is also an invaluable resource for those considering franchising. IFA will be offering webinars throughout the month of November on the following dates. And you can find more of their resources and online tools at

Franchise businesses are expected to grow more than 12% this year, the strongest surge in five years. And today, the number of jobs created and new franchise establishments is outpacing private sector growth in other industries.

So, why not research and learn about the details of franchising? It may be the right choice for you!

Dedrick Muhammad is the Sr. Director of the NAACP Economic Department and Executive Director of the Financial Freedom Center