The USO is teaching vets how to open their own franchise

Jake Hughes
July 31, 2018 - 1:24 pm

(Image courtesy of the USO)

When you think of the USO, one tends to think something along the lines of, “That place in the airport where I can eat cookies until my flight.” The reality is that the USO offers a lot to service members and their families, and veterans too. The Metropolitan Washington/Baltimore USO has an upcoming class available for active duty and vets, and it’s all about helping you learn how to own business.

Maura Gondek, the programs supervisor for transition for Washington/Baltimore branch of the USO, is a military spouse of 26 years who knows the hardships that service members and their families can face. She joined the USO to re-enter the work force and to help fellow military families succeed.

The USO is now offering monthly classes to assist transitioning service members and veterans. On Wednesday, they are having a class called, “Franchise Ownership: Is It For Me?”

“The class will go over what it looks like to own a franchise,” Maura said. “How to decide what franchise to go with: do you go with your head, or go with your heart?”

The class will cover what the hot franchises are, from restaurants to jewelry stores, as well as what franchises have been successful in the Washington, DC area. Franchising can offer unique opportunities for veterans. Instead of having to build your business form the ground up, you can take an existing property, open a new location, and reap the benefits.

According to, nearly 6,000 veterans have opened franchises in the past seven years. Almost 68 percent of the 988 companies that applied for the Entrepreneur 2017 Franchise 500 ranking offer some sort of incentive (usually a franchise-fee discount) for veterans joining their system. Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and KFC are the top brands, as they can be opened almost everywhere.

The class is open to service members within 12 months of ETS/EAS, and to veterans who have left the service within the past 12 months. It will be held on Wednesday, August 1st, on Fort Belvior, VA, at 6:30 PM EST.

To register, you can email Maura at [email protected]. Or, you can visit their website.

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