IRVING, Texas -- 7-Eleven Inc. has selected seven semifinalists in its Women's Franchise Initiative Yes W.E. Will competition to win a franchisee-fee-free 7-Eleven convenience store. “W.E.” stands for “women entrepreneurs.”
7-Eleven invited qualified women to enter the contest and to consider becoming independent business owners. One woman will be awarded a 7-Eleven fee-free franchise, a value of up to $190,000. The winner can choose from any of the company's 7-Eleven c-store franchises available in the continental United States at the contest's end.
The chain selected the semifinalists from among hundreds of applications received in the spring, according to the company.
The seven semifinalists are:
- Alisa Davern, Aliso Viejo, Calif.
- Alyson Lawson, DeSoto, Texas.
- Avalon Young, Sedalia, Colo.
- Bridgette Patterson, Woodbridge, Va.
- Thi "Grace" Nguyen, McKinney, Texas.
- Evelyn Scott, Chesapeake, Va.
- Latanya Bennet, King of Prussia, Pa.
Now, it is up to the voting public to narrow the field to three. Voting in the video competition opened June 19 and runs through Sunday, July 2. Anyone can vote one time per day through the end of the video portion of the competition.
"In their videos, the semifinalists have submitted some compelling personal stories and reasons they want to become a 7-Eleven franchisee," said Larry Hughes, vice president of franchise systems for 7-Eleven.
After July 2, 7-Eleven will select the top three contenders, determined by the number of votes their video receives. These three finalists will then have one-on-one interviews with 7-Eleven, and the retailer will announce the winner in July.
The competition is similar to 7-Eleven's Operation: Take Command franchise giveaway for U.S. military veterans. This multiphase competition includes meeting company franchising qualifications, preliminary interviews, a video contest and a final one-on-one interview with 7-Eleven senior leadership for the top finalists.
Fewer than one-third of franchised businesses in the United States are owned by women, according to the company. In an effort to increase its own number of female franchisees, 7-Eleven targeted this franchise giveaway contest exclusively to women entrepreneurs.
"Some of our most successful franchisees across the country are women," said Hughes. "7-Eleven serves a diverse customer base, and the number of women shopping our stores continues to grow. More and more are choosing to become independent business owners."
To qualify, an entrant had to be 21 or older, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have excellent credit and at least three years of leadership, retail or restaurant experience. Contestants go through the same qualification process as all 7-Eleven franchise applicants, including credit evaluation, a leadership test, business-plan development, budget and store-location preferences.
Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 62,000 stores in 17 countries, including 10,900 in North America.