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Tarji Carter Is Empowering Dreams

A Journey to Transforming Franchise Ownership

tarji carter

In the bustling streets of Boston's Roxbury neighborhood, a young Tarji Carter found inspiration in the unlikeliest of places—a neighborhood icy stand and a small convenience store. “There were remarkable individuals whose entrepreneurial spirit left an indelible mark on me,” Carter recalls. These early influences planted the seeds for a career dedicated to reshaping the landscape of franchise ownership for the Black community.

Today, Tarji Carter stands as the Founder and President of The Franchise Player, an initiative with a bold mission to expand the number of Black-owned franchises across the country. Her journey from a curious young observer to a pioneering leader in franchise development is a testament to the power of community, resilience, and vision.

From Boston Roots to National Impact

Carter’s early experiences were pivotal. She reminisces about a woman running an icy stand across the street from the Roxbury YMCA and Ray Morgan, who owned a convenience store at the Forest Hills train station in Boston, MA. It was their dedication and hustle that she found inspirational. "Observing these local entrepreneurs ignited something within me—a realization that there are opportunities beyond the confines of a traditional corporate structure," Carter explains. This realization propelled her into the world of entrepreneurship and, eventually, franchise ownership.

Her professional journey has been marked by significant moments and key decisions. Witnessing the underrepresentation of African American owners in the franchise sector motivated her to act. “Rather than just bemoaning the status quo, I chose to leverage my experience, networks, and resources to spark change,” she says. This commitment led to the birth of The Franchise Player and its dedication to providing franchise education, opportunities, and resources to the Black community.

One of Carter’s notable achievements is The Franchise Game, the U.S.'s first African American Franchise Symposium and Trade Show. This groundbreaking event was designed to create a space where the Black community could explore franchising without inhibition. “We wanted to create an environment where individuals could show up as their true selves, free from any fear of judgment, and be celebrated for it,” Carter shares. The inaugural symposium was a resounding success, marked by genuine engagement and enthusiasm from attendees, speakers, and exhibitors.

Throughout her career, Carter has witnessed the transformative power of franchise ownership firsthand. She recounts the story of a Boston gentleman who owns a string of coffee shops in communities of color. His success shattered stereotypes and served as a beacon of possibility. “By providing jobs and giving back, he isn’t just serving coffee; he’s serving up opportunities for empowerment and leading by example,” Carter notes.

This passion for transformation drives The Franchise Player’s mission to build wealth in marginalized communities. Carter emphasizes that franchise ownership can be a powerful vehicle for economic empowerment and community upliftment.

At The Franchise Player, Carter and her team take a personalized approach to guiding individuals through the process of franchise ownership. They focus on dispelling common misconceptions, such as the belief that franchise brands are solely responsible for ensuring business success. “The ultimate responsibility for the success of the business rests squarely on the shoulders of the franchisee,” Carter explains. This emphasis on personal responsibility and empowerment is central to their educational efforts.

Carter’s entrepreneurial spirit also led to the establishment of Guest First Services Inc., a franchise consulting boutique located outside of Atlanta, GA. This venture complements The Franchise Player by addressing broader industry needs, offering strategy and resources for franchise sales and development. “Our strategic approach involves tailoring services to each brand's unique needs, fostering growth through targeted marketing, operational efficiency, and fostering partnerships within the industry,” she explains.

Tarji Carter's Vision for the Future

Carter’s aspirations for The Franchise Player are sky-high. She envisions sowing the seeds of franchise ownership among middle and high school students, empowering them to dream big and providing them with the tools to succeed. Exciting projects are on the horizon, including The Franchise Game returning in August 2024 in Plano, TX, and The Scrimmage - Franchise Master Class and Exhibit at a prestigious HBCU in Atlanta in the fall. Additionally, Carter is working on a book about franchising aimed at informing, encouraging, and empowering the community.

For those considering franchise ownership, Carter offers heartfelt advice: “Franchise ownership is within reach for anyone willing to put in the work. It takes serious commitment and discipline. However, when you team up with a reputable franchise organization and build a solid infrastructure, the payoff can be extremely rewarding. You’ve invested in others; now it’s time to change the game and invest in you!”

Tarji Carter’s journey is a compelling narrative of passion, determination, and impact. Through The Franchise Player, she is not only changing the face of franchise ownership but also creating pathways for success and generational wealth within the Black community. Her story is a powerful reminder that with vision and dedication, transformative change is possible.

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