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August 14, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Anderson Center accepting applications for “Franchise Certification” program

Launched in January with a donation from Haslam College of Business alumna Shelly Sun, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BrightStar Care, the inaugural class drew a cadre of 26 participants.

Have you ever thought about becoming a franchisee? Maybe you have started a franchised business and are looking for the right opportunity to provide important training for your franchisees.

Regardless of which place you find yourself, a new offering at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) which is now recruiting its second cohort might be just what you are seeking. It’s called the “Franchise Certification” program and is offered by the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI) in the Haslam College of Business.

Launched in January with a donation from Haslam alumna Shelly Sun, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BrightStar Care, the inaugural class drew a cadre of 26 participants. The second cohort will launch on September 25, meeting in an all-virtual environment for 90 minutes in 11 sessions over eight weeks. Graduation is November 16.

“Our goal for the franchise certification program is to provide an educational and strategic foundation in franchising for those who have a growth mindset and want to learn this path to becoming a business owner,” said Lindsay Mahony, ACEI’s Interim Executive Director. “We appreciate the support from Shelly Sun and look forward to welcoming our second cohort.”

With the goal clearly in mind, ACEI has recruited Cordell Riley, a Charlotte-based senior-level executive with an extensive background both corporately and as a business owner, to serve as the instructor for the program. In addition to being a Franchise Advisor and Adjunct Instructor for the Anderson Center, he’s also Chief Operating Officer of BIGGBY® COFFEE which has grown to more than 300 locations in 13 states since its launch in 1995.

Over the eight weeks, participants gain experience in the seven main components of the franchising business, including:

  • Foundations: How franchising differs from other businesses;
  • Evaluation: Determining the right franchise business for the individual;
  • Acquisition: Learning to write a business plan and obtain funding;
  • Building: Recruiting, hiring, and retaining franchise employees;
  • Leadership: Modeling the qualities of a successful franchise leader;
  • Operations: Managing and measuring operational components of franchising; and
  • Growth: Implementing successful practices to ensure successful growth.

The registration fee is $2,500, but there is a discount for UT alumni. To register, click here.

When you consider the history of BrightStar Care, you can have a true appreciation for Sun’s interest in franchise training. Over the past two decades, the company has grown into four brands offering more than just home care. There’s also BrightStar Medical Staffing, BrightStar Senior Living, and BrightStar Care Homes. The company has more than 365 locations in 39 states and is still seeking franchisees. There are about a dozen franchises available in the Volunteer State, according to this map.

“We were thrilled that the inaugural offering of the franchise certification course was a success last Spring, and we look forward to another great class ahead,” Sun says. “Franchising has been, and will continue to be, a factor in providing employment opportunities and economic growth throughout the region. This program builds a foundation for those wanting to enter an entrepreneurial marketplace armed with proven business practices.”

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