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Dream Vacations announces winners for “Operation Vetrepreneur Become Your Own General” contest

Dream Vacations
Left to right: U.S. Navy Veteran Ron Hargrove of Genoa, Ill.; U.S. Army Veteran Dillon Svoboda of Roseville, Calif.; Joelle Delva Vice President of Operations for Dream Vacations; and U.S. Army Veteran Michael Rigali of New Bern, N.C.

Top travel agency franchise for veterans has given away 61 free home-based travel businesses since 2012.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA.  One of the leading travel agency franchises for veterans, Dream Vacations, recently awarded three military veterans with free travel franchises as part of its annual award-winning annual business plan contest “Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General.” Currently more than 35 percent of franchise owners within Dream Vacations are military veterans and in the past decade, the travel agency franchise has awarded 61 free franchises valued at more than $700,000 to deserving military veterans.

“Supporting the entrepreneurial dreams of our military veterans and their families is such an honor,” said Drew Daly, senior vice president and general manager of Dream Vacations. “The quality of the candidates continues to be incredible. I’m thrilled to see the heights that this year’s recruits will soar to.”

The Dream Vacations franchise contest was open to former members of any of the six branches of the U.S. military (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Space Force and Coast Guard) who are retired, off active duty and/or honorably discharged prior to the contest start date and are residents of the U.S. Candidates participated in a rigorous three-part application process which included creating a business plan, video essay and phone interviews. More than 4,600 people have applied for franchise ownership through Operation Vetrepreneur since 2012.

This year’s winners are U.S. Army Veteran Dillon Svoboda of Roseville, Calif.; U.S. Navy Veteran Ron and Melissa Hargrove of Genoa, Ill.; and U.S. Army Veteran Michael and Teri Rigali of New Bern, N.C.

“I was ecstatic to learn I was a winner in the 2023 Operation Vetrepreneur contest,” said Svoboda. “This opportunity signifies the chance to explore the world all while sharing the joy of travel with like-minded adventurers. This incredible achievement allows me to embark on a journey of entrepreneurship, personal growth, and the fulfillment of a dream I’ve always held close to my heart.”

All military veterans who purchase a Dream Vacations travel agency business receive a 30 percent discount off the initial franchisee fee. Veterans also receive an enlistment package valued at more than $5,000, which includes waived administrative fees valued at $1,350. In addition to having access to the Command Center, an internal portal with veteran-specific training and veteran-themed marketing assets, all veterans and Gold Star families receive a waived training fee for a business partner and the ability to hire active-duty military spouses and veterans as associates at a discount. Additional veteran incentives include the ability to move residences and stay in business, travel discounts for military customers and access to veteran networking groups.

As the only travel franchise to receive a 5 STAR ranking from VetFran, Dream Vacations proudly supports military veterans and is consistently recognized by leading industry publications as a veteran-friendly franchise. It is ranked the #2 franchise for veterans by Entrepreneur magazine in 2023, and other recent number one rankings include Military Times and Forbes. Additional recognitions include inclusion on G.I. Jobs annual “Hot Franchises for Veterans,” US Veterans magazine’s “Top Veteran-Friendly Companies”, USA Today’s “50 Top Franchises for Military Veterans” and recognition by MSC Cruises in its Seaside Salute Award. The Operation Vetrepreneur program won gold from the Travel Weekly Magellan Awards and the IFA Franchising Gives Back Awards.

Dream Vacations is committed to being “Rich in Diversity” and empowers all owners, franchisees and employees to reach their highest potential by leveraging their broad range of talent, experiences, personalities, viewpoints and ideas to generate business growth.

Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website | + Posts

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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