CruiseOne gives away free franchises to veterans
ISAAC INGRAM WANTED TO FILL THE VOID LEFT BEHIND by retiring after nearly three decades serving in the Navy and then teaching Navy ROTC at a high school. In early 2012, just 90 days into his retirement, Ingram, 62, turned to a passion he'd enjoyed his entire life: passenger cruising on large ships. "I've taken about 28 cruises over the last 13 years," says the Olympia Fields, Illinois, resident.
That translated into an opportunity offered by several different franchisors to operate a cruise travel agency. Ingram narrowed down his top choices, which included Cruise Planners/American Express and Cruise Holidays. But he selected Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based CruiseOne Inc., based on its training and support structure, and positive feedback from franchisees.
Although he had enough in personal savings to cover the initial fee (which ranged from $4,575 to $9,800), Ingrain applied for CmiseOne's new "Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General" program, which offered free franchises to five veterans of any of the branches of the U.S. military.
Candidates participated in a phone interview with a franchise development specialist. Semi-finalists were asked to submit a franchise application, business plan, and resume Ingrain spent about a week, roughly 12 hours a day, putting together his...