by Mark Mohler, CEO of Sprigster
Crowdfunding is the process whereby large numbers of individuals pool their resources behind a common cause or project, usually using the internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. As of now, allowing those backers to own an interest in the project to be funded has been illegal under longstanding U.S. securities laws. On April 5 of this year, the JOBS Act was passed to eventually make crowdfunding investment legal. This change in the law is widely hoped to be the key in providing small business with the investment capital that has been so absent since the recession began. In the future, franchisees will generally have the ability to solicit investment in their franchise business from friends, neighbors and total strangers alike using the internet. However, it is not legal quite yet because the SEC is still writing the rules under which these investments can be made. Read more
If you picked up last Friday’s edition of the Fort Worth Star-Tribune, you might have read about this bright young couple opening a The Grounds Guys® franchise. Meet Rebecca and Michael McMahon, latest participants in Sprigster’s Boost a Hero program to raise funds for veterans opening franchises. Read more
Every franchisee has a story. Each new franchise owner brings a host of skills and leadership abilities to his business that is different from the last.
Future Aire Serv® franchise owner Larry Colley is no exception. Colley joined the Army at the age of 17 and began a 21-year career in the 82nd Airborne Division and the U.S. Army Special Forces. With deployments spanning from Somalia to Iraq, Colley received many accolades over his military tenure, including the prestigious Bronze Star. However, Colley had always dreamed with his father of starting his own business.
A TIME article recently highlighted why veterans make excellent entrepreneurs—both are “hard working, dedicated, disciplined, multi-skilled, and self-sufficient… they are strong-willed individuals who put the mission before the man.”
Colley had the leadership skills it takes to own and manage a business: “I’ve spent my entire career leading, teaching, and mentoring,” he says. He also has experience in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry, but didn’t have the tools it took to strike out entirely on his own. After hearing about The Dwyer Group and Aire Serv®, he saw franchising as his solution.
After being approved to open an Aire Serv franchise, the greatest barrier to entry remaining for Colley was the initial franchise fee. Even with his 25% VetFran discount, a daunting figure of over $50,000 still remained. Colley pledged to pay down 20% of the fee, but stumbled across an innovative solution to raise the remaining $42,000.
Boost a Hero is a brand new program powered by startup company Sprigster that allows veterans to raise funds for franchising through crowdfunding, a means of soliciting micro-donations from large groups of people through social media. Through Boost a Hero, Colley will be able to tell his story to a mass audience and will connect with potential donors online.
Boost a Hero’s official fundraising website launched on Saturday, Feb. 11, and is gaining traction online and in the franchising and military communities. Donations start at $1, and result in increasing “perks” as a thank you from The Dwyer Group and Colley personally. For donors, the program allows them to support transitioning veterans in a tangible way. For franchisors, the program helps decrease barriers to entry and in turn, grows their franchise network.
Colley’s wife, Tracy, is also a veteran, and his son, Justin, is currently serving in Afghanistan with plans to return to Florida and join his parents’ new business. Larry Colley’s story as a business owner is just beginning, and we’re looking forward to welcoming him officially to The Dwyer Group family.
To find out more or to make a donation, please visit http://boostahero.com.