Babson College today announced the creation of the Tariq Farid Franchise Institute, a learning hub designed to advance learners’ understanding of franchising and empower the next generation of franchisees and franchisors. The Institute is made possible by a gift from Tariq Farid P’15, founder and CEO of Edible Arrangements, and family. Farid’s daughter, Somia Farid Silber, a 2015 Babson graduate, now serves as the Vice President of Ecommerce at Edible Arrangements.
Mr. Farid began his entrepreneurial career at the age of 17 when he opened his first flower shop. In 1999, he launched Edible Arrangements (recently rebranded as Edible, the flagship of Edible Brands), the pioneer and worldwide leader in innovative gifts and treats now including not only its signature fresh fruit arrangements but also baked goods, savory snacks, and more. Edible’s growth to more than 1,000 locations worldwide today was made possible through franchising, the business model which Farid has aggressively advocated for throughout his career, resulting in his 2018 induction into the International Franchise Association (“IFA”) Hall of Fame.
“This program continues a growing trend of America’s leading franchise brands investing in academic institutions to raise the awareness of the franchise business model as a pathway for career growth and as an opportunity for small business ownership,” says IFA President & CEO Matt Haller. “Franchising is a tremendous vehicle for business growth and wealth creation, particularly for traditionally underrepresented communities. The IFA and IFA Foundation look forward to leveraging franchising experts in our membership to develop curriculum to ensure the success of the Tariq Farid Franchise Institute at Babson College.”
The Institute, which will reside under Babson’s Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership, will create a cross-disciplinary program that draws on Babson’s business expertise, combined with the experience and knowledge of franchise experts, to advance students’ understanding of franchising and the opportunities it can create. Specifically, the Institute will incorporate the following elements:
● Advisory Council — Some of Babson’s most impactful alumni have started, scaled, or invested in franchises. Babson will create a world-class advisory council composed of Babson alumni and industry leaders to support the development, programming, and growth of the Tariq Farid Franchise Institute.
● Research Program — The Tariq Farid Franchise Institute will provide opportunities for multidisciplinary faculty research into all aspects of franchising and the tremendous impact it has had on the world. The insights gained will enhance Babson’s curriculum and identify new ways to innovate.
● Pedagogy — Building upon Babson’s existing framework to educate entrepreneurs who will go on to become franchisors and franchisees, The Tariq Farid Franchise Institute will integrate new undergraduate, graduate, and certificate levels courses, to be delivered both in person and remotely, providing students with the flexibility to learn on their terms.
● Case Studies — Case studies will be a major focus of franchise programming. Students will study real-world franchises, examining them at various stages to learn about each step in the creation and scaling of a franchise. They also will examine cases through a cross-disciplinary lens to gain an understanding of economic, social, legal, and other aspects of franchising.
● Experiential Learning and Programming — Babson’s Tariq Farid Franchise Institute also will partner with each of Babson’s existing centers and institutes to infuse franchise expertise and experiential learning opportunities into Babson’s curriculum and co-curricular programs, activities, and events. Opportunities will be designed to help students practice and implement what they are learning in the classroom and develop an in-depth understanding of franchising as a system of distribution and business expansion, preparing them for future opportunities to build success through franchising.
“Franchising accounts for more than $674 billion of business conducted in the U.S. each year, yet few institutions currently have programs dedicated to franchise education,” says Donna Levin, CEO of The Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College. “The Tariq Farid Franchise Institute will arm rising entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills that will empower them to become successful franchisors and franchisees and help establish Babson as the leading provider of this specialized education.”
As a Pakistani immigrant himself, Tariq is a strong believer in the “American Dream” and views franchising as a means for others to create their own family legacies through business ownership, just as he has done in his own entrepreneurial endeavors.
“Franchising spans entrepreneurship, finance, and family business and requires expertise in marketing, retail, supply chain, and more, highlighting the need for an educational hub to nurture the next generation of franchisees and franchisors,” Farid says. “As the proud parent of a Babson graduate, I recognize the College’s unique ability to transform students into entrepreneurial leaders in all kinds of businesses, including franchises, which makes it the ideal place to create a program dedicated to franchising.”
A lifelong entrepreneur, Babson President Steve Spinelli Jr., MBA’92, PhD, is just one example of a successful Babson-affiliated franchisor or franchisee. President Spinelli’s early and continuing specialty in franchising began as a co-founder of Jiffy Lube International, helping to pioneer the quick-lube industry nationwide and turning Jiffy Lube into the nation’s dominant oil change brand with more than 1,000 service centers. Currently serving on the board of directors for the Planet Fitness gym franchise, President Spinelli wrote his doctoral dissertation on complex economic relationships using franchising as the base case. He has also been published in numerous academic and trade journals.