State of the state: Education
Metropolitan State College of Denver is helping students start Camp Bow Wows and Smiling Moose Delis of their own. The Franchise Ownership Program is designed to give students the opportunity to start their own franchises and gain ongoing support.
Some of the franchisers, so far, working with the program are: Camp Bow Wow and Home Buddies, Grease Monkey and Monkey Shine Franchising, and Smiling Moose Deli. Camp Bow Wow's CEO Heidi Ganahl serves on the program's board of directors.
"The advisory board's role has been to work on various committees and projects around setting up the program: doing research on the investors for the program, how to do the curriculum, so we offer a good curriculum for the students," Ganahl said.
Mick Jackowski, Center for Innovation director at Metro State, believes the time has come for universities to provide opportunities for students beyond training.
"We want to take education beyond just the traditional model of training and then you can go into the ‘real world,'" Jackowski said. "The ‘real world' is here, and this whole program is real."
Tim Carroll, assistant director of media relations at Metro State, agrees with Jackowski and thinks that the types of franchisees the program will attract are unique.
"So many people have come back to school in recent years, with the economy being what it is, because the job market is so bad," Carroll said. "Transferring something like that into this is very natural for them."
The Franchise Ownership Program is in the stages of creating funding for the program. The first seed gift of $100,000 was given by BNY Mellon, a global financial services company.
Jackowski described two different types of investors he is hoping to attract: impact investors and mission-related investors. Impact investors differ from venture capitalists because they will accept lower returns on investment. Mission-related investors want to invest their money to a cause that furthers their own mission.
For example, investment pools that target certain groups of people, and investors interested in helping that pool might be inclined to invest.
A franchise approach was taken because success rates are much higher compared to starting a company from scratch.
"It is a less risky version of entrepreneurship, if you want to say it that way," Jackowski said. "What you are buying is basically the brand and the system, but you still have to implement everything yourself."
The curriculum is in the works, but the preliminary curriculum includes a two-month program consisting of a half-day of classroom instruction and the other half working as an employee for the company. The draft of the course curriculum includes topics like franchising, marketing, life management, technology and human resource management.
In addition, a continuing education program is being created to require franchisees to return for classes after the initial program. The Center for Innovation is planning to give franchisees support throughout the program and afterward including weekly to monthly conference calls.