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Sep212021
COMMUNITY

Empowering Diverse Franchise Ownership

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent Annual Business Survey, approximately 18.3 percent (1 million) businesses are minority owned. That number has been steadily increasing over the past twenty years, and now more than 50 percent of all new businesses are started by owners from diverse backgrounds. Franchising is seeing a surge in minority ownership as well. According to a 2018 study by the IFA Foundation, 31 percent of franchised businesses are minority owned, compared to 19 percent of non-franchised businesses. This represents a 10 percent increase from the study five years prior. 

The UPS Store is proud to contribute to this growth and support diversity and inclusion in business ownership. Our Diversity Ownership Program helps underserved groups make their dream of owning their own business a reality. 

Committed to Diversity and Inclusion 

The UPS Store is a top-ranking franchise opportunity that enables retail owners to provide essential services such as printing, shipping and mailbox services that support both small businesses and consumers to keep communities strong. We are proud to empower all groups, especially those who have been historically underrepresented, to become business owners and help the communities they call home thrive.

Initially launched in 2020, our Diversity Ownership Program equips underserved groups with resources to buy a The UPS Store franchise. The initiative was recently enhanced to further expand access and promote inclusivity in retail ownership to the LGBTQ+ community. “Any time we can inspire or help someone accomplish their dream of becoming a small business owner, that’s what keeps us going,” said Steve Chambers, Vice President of Retail and Business Development. “The UPS Store is committed to supporting and strengthening diversity, and the LGBTQ+ community felt like a next natural fit for this path toward business ownership.”

Now, eligible Black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American and LGBTQ+ franchise applicants can take advantage of a more affordable path to business ownership with an approximate 50 percent discount off the franchise fee. First-time buyers of a new The UPS Store franchise who self-identify as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority group or the LGBTQ+ community are eligible to receive $15,000 off the approximate $30,000 franchise fee, provided they commit to developing their location under our new store design.

“Expanding this program to be even more inclusive is something our retail leadership team felt strongly about. The UPS Store has a long history of diverse business ownership among its franchisees, and since launching this initiative last year, we’ve seen a strong response,” Chambers stated.

The UPS Store Diversity Ownership Program

For Philip Gonzalez, the Diversity Ownership Program solidified his decision to buy a The UPS Store franchise. He and his wife had been looking to open a franchise for the past few years but had never found the right fit. His brother recommended they research The UPS Store and they “fell in love.” Drawn to the brand, especially with the massive growth of online shipping trends and the explosion of small businesses, they felt now was the right time. The financial incentive helped make buying a The UPS Store more affordable. Of all the brands they evaluated, The UPS Store was the only franchisor that offered a discount to foster diversity in ownership.

Philip says, “I think out of all the franchises that we were looking at, it [the Diversity Ownership Program] definitely helped validate that this was the right brand and franchise to partner with. Investing in diversity, obviously for myself and my family is something that we hold dear. It just validated our decision when they offered the diversity program.” Although it’s been a lot of hard work, the Gonzalezes feel they made the right decision and celebrated the grand opening of their The UPS Store in West Garden Grove, CA in June. 

Like Philip, Dr. Rami Michael found the reduced cost of opening a franchise made possible by the Diversity Ownership Program helpful, “The program to assist minorities was very good news and helped me commit.” Rami left the high-stress medical field to become a The UPS Store franchise owner earlier this year. He says, “I studied the market and found that the UPS brand is kind of pandemic-immune. While many businesses were struggling, shipping was going up. I applied for the franchise and was approved – and here we are now; I own a UPS store. It makes me very happy.”

Resources for Success

Our commitment to fostering diversity in business ownership extends beyond the grand opening. Our comprehensive training and extensive ongoing support and guidance help retail owners make their stores a sustainable and successful long-term investment.

We provide world-class training to teach our retail owners business fundamentals as well as specifics related to store operations and providing excellent customer service. Our four-phase approach includes a combination of web-based training, in-person courses at The UPS Store University at our corporate campus in San Diego and hands-on learning in a The UPS Store Certified Training Center. Our goal is to equip every retail owner with the tools, strategies and knowledge necessary to confidently launch and grow their business.

Ongoing support and guidance are all around. From corporate to regional support staff and even fellow retail owners, assistance comes from all levels of The UPS Store network. One of the major forms of support is our multi-channel marketing and advertising campaigns. Television, digital, print, radio and more are used to increase brand awareness across the country. We also invest in regional and local advertising campaigns to help drive traffic to individual retail centers. In addition to these corporate sponsored initiatives, our internal marketing support center includes marketing templates, materials and other tools retail owners can use to promote their store within their community.

Opening a Franchise

Now is good time for opening a franchise business. Although the pandemic has created challenges for everyone, businesses that are part of a franchise network have fared better than independent small businesses. Thanks to its resilience, the franchise business model is predicted to potentially reach pre-pandemic levels of economic output by the end of the year. In fact, IFA’s annual Economic Outlook Report for Franchising projects a 3.5 percent increase in the number of franchises with more than 26,000 new locations expected to open their doors in 2021. This will create nearly 800,000 new jobs, employ around 8.3 million people and contribute $780 billion to the U.S. economy.

The UPS Store is thrilled to be part of this franchise industry growth. Earlier this year we celebrated the opening of our 5,000th retail location in the U.S. and we’re looking forward to continued momentum. We’re excited to help even more entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds become The UPS Store retail owners through our Diversity Ownership Program. For more details about this initiative or our franchise opportunities available across the country, reach out to our franchise development team.