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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Nebraska Franchising

Nebraska Franchising

Elevating and Promoting Franchising Throughout Nebraska

The Center for Entrepreneurship is aligned with the strategic initiative to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem across the State of Nebraska, with franchising being a foundational part of that landscape. Some students pursue their entrepreneurial goals by starting a new entrepreneurial venture, while others are eager to join an established system. Franchising is a valuable opportunity for people who want to do something for themself but not by themself.

Nebraska Ranks in the Top 10 for Franchise Growth

Nebraska ranks in the top 10 states for franchise growth according to Economic Outlook from International Franchise Association. Nebraska is home to over 20 franchisor headquarters, many of whom are University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumni. There are also over 5,800 franchisees in Nebraska with room to grow in every industry.

Franchising is a successful business format that has been around since the 1800s. Currently, there are more than 2,400 franchise brands with 300 new brands being launched every year. Franchising contributes to $787 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy and supports nearly 8.2 million direct jobs, according to the International Franchise Association.

The Center for Entrepreneurship has been a leader in franchise education at the university level since the mid 1980s. Our early program contributed to some incredibly successful leaders in franchising like Paul Hogan, Founder of Home Instead.

We relaunched and rebooted our franchising effort using innovative curriculum, speaker workshops, experiential events and a student-led club.

Dr. Lindsay Thomsen, ‘01, brings her personal experience to franchising, which includes being a franchisee with Curves and franchise business coach with Home Instead. She also cofounded a business, FPPG, that provides training and programming to franchisors all over the world. Combining her experience with an experiential curriculum and nationally ranked line-up of speakers, students learn franchising from a multitude of perspectives.

When you buy a franchise, it’s like having the best of both worlds. You get to be on your own boss, but not by yourself. You get to have your own business, make your own decisions and follow a formula that’s been proven over and over again. You also have a peer group of others who are doing the same thing you are and learning becomes exponential.

Paul Hogan, ’85, Founder of Home Instead

What We Offer Students

ENTR 425 Franchising

  • In this class open to all majors, you will hear from leaders in franchising, like founders, executives, franchisees and consultants. You'll submit a reflection on what you took away from hearing their stories, trials and successes. You'll also engage in discussions, class activities and a formal debate that uses critical thinking, communication skills and the need to work collaboratively in a group.
  • You will visit a local franchise headquarters to see the organization's inner workings.
  • In the final assignment, you'll choose a franchise brand you would pursue as a career or investment; then write a paper outlining the brand’s history, differentiators, financial assessment/trends, rankings, industry review, potential future problems, and a reflection on “why” this brand. This information comes from research and an interview with someone who works within the brand. You can also present the information to the class and invite a person from the brand to virtually attend.

Collaborative Events, Clubs and Activities

  • Franchise panel discussions with other universities, such as the recent UNL-UMKC panel discussion
  • Hands-on experiential opportunities such as field trips to franchisee headquarters and participation in events that showcase franchise founders, franchisees and other leaders in the field
  • Franchise Club hosted events
UMKC panel UMKC panel UMKC panel

If you're built for it, owning your own business is one of the greatest ways to spend your working life. However, going into business is like walking into a dark jungle, it's exciting and frightening at the same time. Partnering with a quality franchisor is like having a lighted path and a guide to help you avoid the danger.

Don Eckles, Co-Founder of Scooter's Coffee

Past Alumni Speakers and Mentors

Paul Hogan, '85 Founder, Home Instead
Kris Brown Kris Brown, '99 Multi-unit Franchisee, Dunkin’ 
Ashley Kloxin, '13 Franchisee, Perspire Sauna Studios
Lindsay Thomsen Lindsay Thomsen, '01 Franchisee, Curves
Thomas Welter Thomas Welter, '88 Group President, Empower Brands  
Carey Gille, '99 Co-Founder, Franchise Fastlane
Todd Graeve Todd Graeve, '92 CEO, Scooter’s Coffee
Laura Frantz, '10 Franchisee, House of Colour
Reed Reed Nyffeler, '98 Founder, Signal 88
Jason Metcalf, '04 Multi-unit Franchisee, Scooter’s Coffee
Jisella Dolan Jisella Dolan, '98 & '01 Chief Advocacy Officer, Home Instead 
Charlie Colón, '90 & '05 Owner/Operator, Chick-fil-A


Thomsen, Lindsay
Assistant Professor of Practice in Management and Director of Business Development for the Center for Entrepreneurship
HLH 315 E
730 N. 14th Street
Lincoln, NE 68508-1515