According to a study that was based on U.S census data and was conducted for the International Franchise Association Educational Foundation, U.S. military veterans own and operate almost 15% of franchise businesses. In the United States, more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise businesses provide jobs for 815,000 people, generating in excess of $41 billion in GDP.
Despite these numbers, the unemployment rate among veterans remains significantly higher than for the general population. In response to these rates, First Lady Michelle Obama announced in November 2011 the launch of "Operation Enduring Opportunity," a campaign to hire and recruit into the franchise industry 75,000 veterans and their spouses, and 5,000 Wounded Warriors, by 2014. The program is a joint effort between the International Franchise Association (IFA), the White House Joining Forces Initiative and other organizations.