Lathrop GPM Sponsors IFA’s Franchise Ascension Initiative


Program aims to boost representation of historically underrepresented groups in franchising

KANSAS CITY (April 2, 2024)Lathrop GPM LLP is pleased to announce signing on as a founding partner of the new Franchise Ascension Initiative with the International Franchise Association (IFA). The initiative is a six-month accelerator program to designed to provide qualified individuals from underrepresented groups and economically disadvantaged communities with the education, mentorship, resources, and the support necessary to successfully launch a career in franchise ownership.

"We are proud to expand Lathrop GPM's Increasing Diversity in Franchising initiative by partnering with the IFA in the Franchise Ascension Initiative," said Lathrop GPM Partner Mark Kirsch, who focuses his practice on domestic and international franchising matters and leads the firm's Increasing Diversity in Franchising efforts.

The Ascension Initiative aims to diversify the franchise world and demonstrate the possibilities of franchise ownership and careers in franchising through outreach to underrepresented groups and economically disadvantaged communities during the applicant recruitment process.

The program has three components:

  • Structured Online Training, including courses in franchise fundamentals and business management;
  • Interactive/Experiential Learning, including case studies with individual and peer cohort mentorship; and
  • Pitch Contest, where participants develop a franchise business plan and present it to a panel of franchisor and supplier judges.

The initiative's first cohort will be formed in Q3 2024, with a second cohort to start in early 2025. To learn more, visit