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    7-Eleven Awards Three Free Franchises to Women Entrepreneurs

    Each contest finalist will receive a fee waiver.

    IRVING, Texas — 7-Eleven Inc. will award a convenience store to all three finalists in its first-ever Women's Initiative competition. Each of them will receive a waiver of the franchise fee, valued at up to $190,000, to franchise any 7‑Eleven convenience store available in the continental United States.

    The winners are Alyson Rae Lawson of Dallas; Avalon Young of Castle Rock, Colo.; and Evelyn Scott of Chesapeake, Va.

    7-Eleven launched the contest in March in an effort to increase its number of female franchisees, as CSNews Online reported.

    The three finalists were flown, all expenses paid, to 7-Eleven's home office in Irving, where President and CEO Joe DePinto interviewed them. They were previously selected from seven semi-finalists who competed in an online video contest for the chance to make it to the final round.

    "To say that each candidate was impressive would be an understatement," DePinto said. "Each brings a unique set of strengths. In addition, all are extremely community-oriented and have strong business, leadership and interpersonal skills. Those are qualities successful franchisees need. Any one of them would make a great independent business owner at 7‑Eleven, and I couldn't see selecting just one, when all three are exactly the type of folks we want as franchisees and as part of the 7‑Eleven network."

    7‑Eleven will donate $10,000 to the charity selected by each winner: Montessori Educational Foundation, chosen by Young; Lance A. Lemons Memorial Foundation, selected by Lawson; and Oscar Smith Middle School, selected by Scott. The charities align with Project A-Game, a 7‑Eleven grant program that funds youth programs focused on education, fitness, safety and hunger relief, the company said.

    "Women own and operate less than a third of franchised businesses in the U.S., a number we want to help grow," said Larry Hughes, vice president of franchise systems for 7‑Eleven. "Because of our extensive training programs, proven business system, favorable financing, exclusive products and globally recognized brand, 7‑Eleven offers a great entrepreneurial opportunity for women … and men."

    To qualify for the Women's Initiative competition, entrants had to be 21 years of age or older, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have excellent credit and at least three years of leadership, retail or restaurant experience. Contestants underwent the same qualification process as all 7‑Eleven franchise applicants, which includes interviews, credit evaluation, a leadership test and preparing a business plan and budget.

    Irving-based 7-Eleven Inc. operates, franchises and licenses more than 10,700 7-Eleven stores in North America.

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