The Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) announced today that Jennifer Turliuk, CEO of CFA-member franchise MakerKids, has been named the first place Grand Prize winner in the 2017 NextGen in Franchising Global Competition. This is the third year in a row that a CFA member has been named a Grand Prize winner, with John Evans of EverLine Coatings winning in 2015 and Carmelo Marsala of Spray-Net winning in 2016. Canada is the only country to produce a Grand Prize winner three years in a row.

“As a co-sponsor of the 2017 NextGen in Franchising Global Competition, CFA is thrilled that one of our members has been named a Grand Prize winner for the third year in a row,” says Lorraine McLachlan, CFA's President and CEO. “This is a true testament to the incredible talent and entrepreneurial spirit of Canadian millennials. We congratulate Jennifer on this significant achievement, and wish her great success as she continues to grow her business through franchising.”

MakerKids is an educational trailblazer, providing after-school programs and a playful space dedicated to giving kids the resources they need to feel empowered by the digital world. Programs teach children technological skills like coding, Minecraft, and robotics.

“I am so happy and grateful to have won the NextGen in Franchising Global Competition,” says Jennifer Turliuk. “I am proud to have made this a ‘hat-trick' for Canada as the third Canadian to win the competition. I look forward to using the learnings from this experience to grow our brand and expand the Canadian economy.”

The NextGen in Franchising Global Competition is organized by the International Franchise Association (IFA), the United States' national trade association for franchising. Open to entrepreneurs ages 21-35, NextGen engages young entrepreneurs from around the world who are seeking careers and business opportunities in the franchising industry. Over 400 young entrepreneurs submitted their franchise business plans for a chance to be among 18 finalists selected to attend the IFA's Annual Convention in Las Vegas.

During the IFA Convention, the 18 finalists were narrowed down to the top three Grand Prize winners, who continued to the final stage of the competition, which is called the FRANSHARK experience. In the FRANSHARK experience, the final three presented their businesses to a panel of franchise industry judges and an audience of 3,000 Convention attendees for a chance to win cash prizes ranging from $5,000 – $10,000. Turliuk was one of these three finalists, and successfully took home the first place Grand Prize.

In addition to receiving a complimentary registration and travel stipend to attend the IFA's Annual Convention, winners were awarded with a spot at the NextGen in Franchising Summit, a two-day educational and networking program for next generation entrepreneurs; a 90-day accelerator program with industry leaders and CEOs; an opportunity to participate in the FRANSHARK experience for additional cash prizes; and opportunities to network with leading franchisors, franchisees, and suppliers, along with other young entrepreneurs.

The NextGen in Franchising program is made possible due to the generosity of its donors and sponsors, which include David McKinnon, the founding sponsor; the Stewart & Jane Bainum Fund; Lawrence “Doc” Cohen, Doc & Associates; Stephen P. Joyce Fund; Choice Hotels Foundation; J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation; Tariq Farid, Edible Arrangements; Charlie Chase, FirstService Brands; Amit Kleinberger, Menchie's Frozen Yogurt; Aziz Hashim, NRD Holdings; Joe Bourdow, Valpak; Melanie Bergeron, Two Men & A Truck Intl.; Amit Pamecha, FranConnect; and the Fred DeLuca Foundation/Subway.