Aire Serv Joins Boost a Hero Program, Supporting Veteran Entrepreneurship

With veteran unemployment hovering stubbornly above the national average, innovation is key for both transitioning veterans seeking rewarding civilian careers and for companies keen to harness their talent. On February 10, The Dwyer Group furthered its commitment to veteran entrepreneurship by being one of the inaugural companies to sign on with Boost a Hero, an online platform powered by Sprigster through which veterans can use crowdfunding to raise money for a franchise purchase.

Crowdfunding is an up-and-coming fundraising approach that leverages social media to solicit micro-donations.

To kick off the initiative, the International Franchise Association (IFA) introduced Boost a Hero onstage at its annual convention with Larry Colley, the Dwyer Group veteran selected to pilot the program as he joins the Aire Serv® brand. The Dwyer Group, parent company of seven home-service franchises, has supported veteran entrepreneurship since 1991 through the IFA’s VetFran program, offering veterans a 25 percent discount on the initial franchise purchase fee.

Colley, a Bronze-Star recipient and 21-year Army veteran, has been approved to open an Aire Serv franchise in Tampa, Fla., and has pledged to pay 20 percent of the franchise purchase fee from his own funds. He will raise the remaining amount, approximately $42,000, through crowdfunding. The Dwyer Group will tell Colley’s story and recruit donors through a fundraising website and social media campaign.

Colley served six years with the 82nd Airborne Division and 15 years with the Army Special Forces. In addition to the Bronze Star, his awards include multiple Achievement Medals, Meritorious Service Medals and Army Good Conduct Medals. He has previous experience in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry, and realized after being introduced to Aire Serv that franchising was the missing link to his success.

“I have always wanted to be a business owner, and I know the Army has given me the skills and leadership ability to make it successful,” said Colley. “I am honored to be considered for this program and impressed that someone would have an interest in helping veterans pursue their dreams of owning a business.”

For Colley, both military and franchising are a family affair. Colley’s wife is also a veteran, and his son is currently serving in Afghanistan. His entire family plans to be involved with the Aire Serv business after his son returns from deployment.

The Dwyer Group is a founding member of the VetFran program and has awarded more than $1.2 million in financial discounts to 236 VetFran franchisees within its brands. “Franchising is good for veterans, and veterans are good for franchising. With more than 200,000 veterans transitioning to the civilian world each year, we owe it to them to offer this opportunity,” said Mary Kennedy Thompson, former Marine, VetFran Chairwoman and president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing.

To view Colley’s fundraising website, please visit