Hello everyone!

Today we’re back with another exciting dev diary to talk about a plan for Atlantic Forum: Franchising!

Franchise
/ˈfran(t)ʃʌɪz/
Noun

"an authorization granted by a government or company to an individual or group enabling them to carry out specified commercial activities, for example acting as an agent for a company's products"

So what does it have to do with Atlantic Forum? Well a lot really! When we started the Atlantic Forum in April 2019, Igor and I had just finished a near 8 month brainstorm on how to move forward after our time with the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association. We wanted to fill up that void with something different, and after having talked to a couple of stakeholders to potentially form a youth branch under their wing we had settled on starting from scratch on our own, using the NATO related festivities in Washing D.C. as our launching platform.

YATA had brought us many great things, but at the same time we also felt we could have done so much more. One of those things that worked really well in some countries, and rather poorly in others is their chapter structure. Having been unable to reform the chapters, we felt we could do it differently with a twist. At the same time we said that we wanted to focus on organic growth, and that it was of no use to start a chapter structure right of the bat. We also didn't (and still don't) want the Atlantic Forum to be the Grand John & Igor show, and wanted to stay true to the grassroot nature of Atlantic Forum - thus rather then dictate from the top down what chapters should look like, we sought input from patrons bottom up. We settled on having a chapter structure down the road, at an unspecified time - which would reveil itself when it was ready (now writing this that almost sounds prophetic! 

The time has come! Over the nearly past two years we have grown quite a bit, not as much as we had hoped - but we will blame that on COVID!, but big enough to have "critical mass" and an active cadre in quite a few countries/regions. Around august we asked them to help us think, then still under the working title of YTLN which we have since dropped, and set up a small committee under the chairmanship of Connor Steeds to think about how a chapter structure could and should look like - his findings were discussed during #Transatlanticism2020 and to our surprise also drew the attention of a few of our high level speakers who joined in the zoom breakout room to help with formulating ideas. Igor and I chewed a bit on these proceedings over the Christmas holiday breaks, and then approached the active cadre for one final brainstorm, and finally settled on the idea of a franchise. Fitting to Atlantic Forum's general approach to things, we tend to combine things from the regular NGO world with military and entrepreneurial input, and in this case we settled on an entrepreneurial idea - after all, Atlantic Forum is technically still a project under the entrepreneurial entity "Pantheon Consultancy" - so it does seem rather fitting.

Following our philosophy of the sandbox we have been reaching out to other transatlantic entities in these countries to make sure it is our intent to collaborate and strenghten one another rather then to compete, starting with the Atlantic Treaty Association chapters, with whom we have strenghtend relations as whole through Mr. Townsend who recently joined Atlantic Forum's Board of Recommendation.

We'll share the details of how the Franchise will work exactly to the wider public later, and kick off with 9 entities in the coming month. Respectively in The Netherlands, Belgium & Luxembourg, the Baltics, Turkey, United Kingdom, Greece, the Visegrad Four countries, United States and Canada. In these countries we have enough patrons to form a chapter, and in addition we have lined up some recruitment drive activities that should bolster the ranks if you will (more about that later!).

These entities will join the upcoming #NATOEducationMonth starting March 4. Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, to get the most out of #NATOEducationMonth and join the Atlantic Forum as a patron here and become part of a franchised chapter!

See all Dev Diaries here: https://atlantic-forum.com/developer-diary