Franchise business owners in Fort Worth share success stories

Fort Worth elected officials and franchise owners gathered to discuss investing in Hispanic- and Latino-owned businesses.

Fort Well worth elected officers and franchise house owners gathered to discuss investing in Hispanic- and Latino-owned businesses.

Worldwide Franchise Association

North Texas community leaders and franchise business owners gathered Tuesday for a roundtable discussion about investing in Hispanic and Latino businesses and how franchising can bolster Fort Worth entrepreneurship.

The event took place at Ensemble Coworking space off Park Place Avenue and was hosted by International Franchise Association, a Washington-based advocacy organization. The association’s roadshow, Open for Opportunity, is aimed at telling the stories of local franchises and gathering leaders to discuss improving the process for the success.

Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said the City Council has focused on restabilizing the economy and putting money back into the hands of families since the pandemic.

“(The conversation) all kept coming back to small business,” Parker said. “The numbers make all the sense in the world — that’s the bedrock of the American economy.”

Parker highlighted the success of the Fort Worth Stockyards. The state’s No. 1 tourism destination generates more than 8 million visitors per year, now surpassing the San Antonio Riverwalk in tourism. Parker said franchising is an important part of the conversation, because many of the successful businesses in the Stockyards have been franchises.

International Franchise Assocation, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization, hosted a roundtable discussion with Fort Worth leaders on April 11, 2023.
Global Franchise Assocation, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy corporation, hosted a roundtable dialogue with Fort Worth leaders on April 11, 2023. Mia Saponara Worldwide Franchise Affiliation

The franchise association recently released an economic outlook for small businesses that reveals Texas is expected to generate the most growth in franchising in the U.S., and Fort Worth is no small part of that activity.

Roundtable discussion among leaders emphasized several franchise themes, including the diversity of franchise types, opportunities for women and people of color, and better pay. Small business franchises are more likely to pay higher wages and provide benefits like health insurance than non-franchise businesses, according to the association.

The average Black-owned franchise brings in 2.2 times the earnings of Black-owned independent businesses, and more than one quarter of franchises are owned by people of color. Meanwhile, fewer than than 20{194d821e0dc8d10be69d2d4a52551aeafc2dee4011c6c9faa8f16ae7103581f6} of independent businesses are typically owned by people of color.

Becky Encinia, owner of a Chick-fil-A franchise in Rowlett, discussed her story of opening her first location at the age of 24 as a Hispanic woman.

“I hope that I can not just inspire but help build up other minorities to chase the dream that they never thought was possible,” Encinia said.

Geoff Seiber leads Fort Worth-based FranFund, a franchise industry leader that funds small businesses across the country.

Seiber said the franchise model can help first-time business owners overcome some of the hurdles of starting from scratch. Seiber’s downtown office funded nearly 250 brands totaling several thousand franchises last year.

Jorge Ferraez of Dallas-based Latino Leaders Magazine moderated the discussion. Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Anette Landeros, Tarrant County College Chancellor Elva LeBlanc, Fort Worth City Council member Michael Crain, members of the IFA board and several other community leaders and small business owners participated in the conversation.

IFA will continue to host events in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area through April 12. The organization will host a second roundtable in Irving on Wednesday morning to discuss veterans in franchising.

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Jenny Rudolph handles North Texas enterprise, business and financial advancement at the Fort Truly worth Star-Telegram.