WALLINGFORD, Conn., Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Edible Arrangements® CEO Tariq Farid today announced a major contribution to the International Franchise Association's (IFA) VetFran program and the launch of "Hero's Welcome," a nationwide initiative designed to help veterans become business owners and re-enter the workforce.
Edible Arrangements® will contribute $125,000 to VetFran, the IFA's program through which franchise companies help military veterans make the transition to civilian life.
In addition, Edible Arrangements® will launch its own "Hero's Welcome" program this year. The program, part of the company's Edible Cares umbrella initiative to give back, will be designed to provide special support to help veterans become franchisees. It will include specialized training, a franchise fee discount and mentoring from existing Edible Arrangements® franchisees who are also veterans. In addition, Edible Arrangements® has set a goal of providing job opportunities and a career path for an additional 1,000 veterans throughout its franchise locations nationwide.
"The brave men and women of our military are the ones who have made it possible for each of us to enjoy the American Dream," Farid said. "I believe it is our obligation to help those who have sacrificed so much by doing what we can to give them the tools and support to achieve that dream themselves."
Through the IFA, Farid also is participating in a new Veterans Business Accelerator program established by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which will provide free courses and resources for all veterans interested in entrepreneurship including providing financial support to wounded veterans doing the coursework.
Farid has taped a video for use in the program in which he discusses how he founded Edible Arrangements® as a teenager, and then he and his brother, Kamran, turned it into the international leader in fresh fruit arrangements with more than 1,100 locations worldwide. Within the Edible Arrangements® system, former veterans own and operate some of the most successful franchise locations.
"I know from personal experience within our own system that veterans bring an exceptional level of passion and discipline to their business," Farid said. "I also know that they often face employment challenges once their service to their country is complete."
The IFA's VetFran program was born out of the desire of the late Don Dwyer Sr., founder of The Dwyer Group, as a way to say "thank you" to veterans returning from the first Gulf War. IFA President and CEO Steve Caldeira said the IFA is excited about the new opportunities created by the support of Edible Arrangements®.
"Edible Arrangements' contribution to IFA's VetFran initiative is truly awe-inspiring and will help to strengthen the franchise industry's efforts to further support veteran entrepreneurship and employment," Caldeira said. "We are extremely grateful to Tariq Farid for his outstanding leadership and support of our nation's veterans."
About Edible Arrangements® With over 1,100 franchise locations open or under development worldwide, Edible Arrangements International, LLC is the leading purveyor of delicious, high quality, artistically designed, fresh fruit arrangements that are practical and healthy gifts and centerpieces for everyday occasions and events. Brothers Tariq and Kamran Farid developed and launched the company in 1999 in East Haven, CT, after many years in the floral industry. The company has been recognized as an industry leader since its inception, including ranking first in its category in Entrepreneur magazine's annual "Franchise 500" for the past six years and also placing in Entrepreneur's top 40 of "Fastest Growing Franchises" and "America's Top Global Franchises." Edible Arrangements® was named one of the Top 5 businesses in Connecticut by Inc. magazine's first Hire Power Awards in 2012 and has also ranked in Inc.'s Top 5,000 fastest growing privately-held companies for seven consecutive years. The company was recently recognized as one of the "Top 100 Internet Retailers" by Internet Retailer magazine and was also named as one of 1851's "Top 100 Social Franchises." Customers may order arrangements by telephone at 1-877-DO-FRUIT, at one of the company's retail stores, or online at EdibleArrangements.com. EDIBLE ARRANGEMENTS® and other trademarks noted are registered trademarks of Edible Arrangements, LLC.