Innovative Models for International Development and Poverty Alleviation - Mercado Fresco: Supplying Hope Through Affordable Food for Low-Income Families

Thursday, October 19, 2017
3:40 p.m. to  5:00 p.m.
MUB Theater I

Social Innovation Speaker Series Keynote Address: Beth Meadows, Founder and CEO, Supply Hope.

Mercado Fresco, or “Fresh Market”, is the first micro-franchise developed by Supply Hope. Mercado Fresco has been piloted since 2012 and has now grown to just around 100 stores. Their goal is sustainable operations as they scale to 250 stores in Managua by 2018.

Mercado Fresco makes quality, affordable food accessible to low-income communities since their stores are located in the homes of their micro-franchise operators. Their products include fresh dairy products, vegetables, bread and traditional foods such as rice, beans and nacatamales. They teach operators everything from proper food handling, customer service and money management. Operators are given equipment including food baskets, signs and calculators. It costs $1,000 to open one store – including all the costs of training, equipment and inventory. Within eight months, the average micro-franchise operator’s monthly earnings exceed that one-time investment.

Quality, affordable food for low-income families is a problem in many developing countries. There are no safety regulations for most of their foods. Food often arrives in open, unrefrigerated trucks, kept “fresh” with chemicals like formaldehyde. All this contributes to poor nutrition and illness. Because Supply Hope is negotiating directly with suppliers and storing their products correctly in their warehouse, they control the quality of our products. And if they can’t find a popular product that meets their standards, they’ll make it themselves.

Image of BethBeth is the founder and CEO of Supply Hope. She is a charismatic leader, innovative thinker, and a curious problem solver. After spending more than 25 years as an entrepreneur creating one of the top travel organizations in the country, Beth is using her franchise, direct sales, and marketing experience to make a difference in the lives of people in need in Nicaragua.

Beth holds a strong belief that providing opportunities for others to become self-reliant breaks the cycle of poverty. After seeing the effects of poverty on women and children in Latin America, she felt compelled to apply her business ownership and franchise experience to develop micro-franchising solutions through Supply Hope.

CSIE is pleased to co-host this event with Net Impact, the Center for International Education and Global Engagement and College of Liberal Arts Grand Challenges Initiative.