Social microfranchising allows local entrepreneurs to set up and run their business in a safe way, and enable families among the poorest to access products and services that change life.

Entrepreneurs For Life has experience in this field in Africa, and is working on new projects to set up by 2017.

A microfranchise is a network of micro-entrepreneurs, gathered with a brand, and working in an unified mode. They go door-to-door (sometimes they are shopkeepers), selling a mix of products that change life for the poorest. They do more than sales transactions: they are usually trusted advisors, and increase acceptability of vital products and services.

The first goal for a microfranchise is to distribute on a large scale, in a sustainable way, products and services with high social impact (and affordable for the poorest).

The second goal is to empower local entrepreneurs by helping them to set up their business, and to improve their livelihood.

The concept of franchise, which brings a standardized know how, is efficient to:

– set up a large network of micro-entrepreneurs, and reach a critical mass of poor consumers, which is a key factor for business success

– give security to micro-entrepreneurs, limiting the risk of failure

– create a replicable system, to generate scale savings

The franchisor is the non-profit NGO Entrepreneurs For life, which provides a proven business model and organizes logistics. The franchised micro-entrepreneurs are recruited, trained, and monitored by the franchisor. The startup costs for franchisees are very low, and the franchisor supports the franchisees with low-cost financing.

Through the franchisor, the franchisee learns new methods and new strategies, he receives smartphone apps (sales administration, customer relationship management, marketing tools), he also accesses microfinance, and can grow his business, while limiting the risk of failure.

Some examples of products/services: energy (improved stoves, solar lamps), nutrition, health, water sanitation, agriculture, education, ….

How does the EFL micro-franchise network differ from traditional development projects?

  • products and services reach those who live in the “last mile”, where conventional projects have difficulty convincing and providing. Because the microentrepreneur franchisee lives in this environment, and he sells in his community
  • products and services provided are affordable
    – less expensive because the microfranchise bypasses middlemen, and some products are directly designed in an innovative way, to be adapted to the poorest, or locally produced
    – in some cases financed by microcredit
  • the micro-entrepreneur franchisee is motivated: he is autonomous because paid for results, valued by his function, responsible for his success, secured by the group
  • the organization is designed and managed by entrepreneurs, with the objective to make autonomous the regional franchise without external aid. That means rigorous cost discipline, a focus on productivity, quality control and customer satisfaction, the monitoring of indicators, smart incentives, clear goals and targets, high performance management, and the transmission of an entrepreneurship culture to franchisees.