Supply Hope, a non-profit organizations works through Mercado Fresco and network of more than eighty micro-franchises that increases access to nutritious, affordable, high-quality food while empowering women through the creation of in-home grocery stores in Nicaragua. Supply Hope coordinates sourcing and distribution, and provides business acumen, customer service, and food handling training to help break the cycle of poverty. With a lack of quality nutritious and inexpensive food options, Mercado Fresco brings a needed offering to the low-income communities in Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. Simultaneously, mothers and grandmothers are provided the opportunity to gain a financial independence while still caring for their families, by running the Mercado Fresco grocery stores out of their homes. Learn more...
Beth Meadows—Chicago, Illinois
As a child, Beth ran multi-location lemonade stand operations, and today, she puts her knowledge of scalable and successful business to work by creating Mercado Fresco, a microfranchise network that increases access to healthy food and provides economic opportunity for women and families in Nicaragua.
Beth is a proven entrepreneur, having started and sold many businesses across 25 years. Her most successful endeavors include a renowned travel agency franchise that she sold to American Express. However, she has taken to heart the fact that the opportunities granted her are not shared in the developing world—and believes that in many cases, an intervention is needed to break the cycle of poverty. As Founder and CEO of Mercado Fresco, Beth helps to provide be that intervention for families in Nicaragua, applying her lifetime of marketing, sales, and distribution knowledge to help women set up and run their own businesses.
Ferenz Feher, Business Architect, Feher & Feher Consultancy
Ferenz Feher is a business architect whose vision of development is based on making the dreams of Mexican entrepreneurs a reality. For 13 years he has been in charge of the Feher & Feher Consultancy, the only one in the professional human services business for SMEs, family businesses, government agencies, franchise and corporate developments, all of which are nationally and internationally represented. Feher & Feher is also recognized by the Ministry of Economy, through the National Entrepreneur Institute as one of the best Accelerators authorized to contribute with Mexican entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs interested in developing business models and/or accelerating companies.
He has experience in the development of more than 750 Franchises; the Food and Beverage brand represents more than 30% of its customers, among which are: Sushi Itto, La Mansión, Fonda Argentina, El Fongoncito, Fisher's, La Cervecería de Barrio, Quiznos, Kepacrepa, Tortas la Castellana, BlattSalatHouse, Chazz, to mention a few. His trajectory as lecturer covers more than ten years of teaching in the Program of Certification for Executives in Franquicias of the Universidad Anáhuac del Norte, where he functions as professor of the Module Technical Assistance and Quality in the Services. He was Professor of the subject of Franchises in the TEC of Monterrey, as well as the Center of Higher Studies San Ángel (CESSA). He has also participated as a lecturer in practically all the universities of the country, in matters of:
• Franchises: ABC of Franchising, Own Business Vs. Franchises, Development of Franchise Models, Technical Assistance in Franchise and Business Models, Effective Supervision in Franchise Networks, etc.
• Business and Business: The change in your company, Choosing the best growth model for your business, How to institutionalize my company?, Second and third generation family businesses, Marketing, etc.
• Motivation: Do you have a dream?, Franchises and young people, Mountain and Entrepreneurs, Teaming with ..., Social Franchises for Mexico, Change that we dream, etc.
Mr. Feher has been recognized with an Honorable Mention by the Technological Institute and Technological Studies of Monterrey, with a diploma in International Commerce from the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas in Spain, as well as an AD-2 Diploma in Senior Management from the Pan American Institute of Business Management IPADE). He also holds a Master in Franchise from the H. Wayne Wizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship in Miami, Florida and is the first Mexican certified by the American Institute of Certified FranchiseExecutive (ICFE).
Greg Starbird, Starbird Consulting
Greg Starbird founded Starbird Consulting in May 2016, as a vehicle through which he and hand-picked specialists catalyze others to use innovative business models and technologies to distribute life-enhancing goods and services to broad populations. Starbird Consulting combines analytic rigor and real-world operational experience, deploying flexible tools representing over a decade of experience in multiple countries.
Greg is a pioneer and leader in the distribution of healthcare in emerging economies. He has deep, long-term involvement in multi-unit and franchised healthcare enterprises since 2005.
Mr. Starbird assumed progressive responsibility at The HealthStore Foundation® from 2005-2016, including serving as its CEO from 2011-2016. Under Mr. Starbird’s tenure, the CFW network in Kenya served over 5,000,000 people. As CEO, he drove down the costs of operating its CFW network in Kenya by 60%, while meeting sales targets. The HealthStore Foundation and its CFW network have won numerous awards and have received funding from philanthropists, foundations, and corporations such as ExxonMobil Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, UNICEF, P&G FutureWorks, and the US Government. Mr. Starbird remains a member of HealthStore’s board of directors.
In addition to his work in Kenya (60 medical clinics), Mr. Starbird has played key roles in the launch of healthcare businesses in Ghana (2005-2006), Rwanda (2007-2011), and the DR Congo (2012-2014). The Ghanaian and Rwandan networks (now 17 and 90 medical clinics, respectively) have received large-scale corporate funding and have signed Public-Private Partnerships with their respective countries’ Ministries of Health. The DR Congo initiative was launched with the blessing of the head of the US Agency for International Development. A fourth healthcare enterprise which Mr. Starbird advised very loosely (in Guatemala) was acquired by a local pharmaceutical company.
A customized instance of Starbird Consulting’s sensitivity analysis tool was selected and used in an Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs training of impact investors in Mexico City in January 2017.
Among other affiliations, Mr. Starbird serves on:
- The International Franchise Association’s Social Sector Franchising Task Force
- The Social Sector Franchising Initiative at the Center for Social Innovation & Enterprise, University of New Hampshire
- The Board of Directors of Zagaya, an anti-malaria organization that is the offshoot of Amyris, a public American company (NASDAQ: AMRS) whose technology is being used to produce tens of millions of doses of malaria medicine (ACTs) per year.
- Prior to his work in Africa, Mr. Starbird helped distribute high-quality private education in public elementary schools in Los Angeles.
Mr. Starbird attended Cornell University and the University of California at Santa Barbara (B.A.), as well as Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Social Sector Franchising Innovations Roundtable - October 2017
On Day 2 of the 2017 Social Sector Franchise Innovations Roundtables, conference participants broke into groups and began the Dynamic Accelerator Solutions Prototyping process, working with each protégé entrepreneur to develop concrete action plans. The action plans include specific recommendations for how each critical issue could be addressed, short-term and longer-term actions the franchisers will take, and the specific ways the mentor will provide technical assistance and support to the protégé. Below you will find Mercado Fresco’s critical issues and the action plan. This is the product of our solutions prototyping process; and the framework that we’ve developed for our mentoring process over the next six months.
Vision: To see children’s needs met by their own families, ending dependency and providing hope and dignity.
Mission: Create opportunities for families living in poverty to earn a reliable income through micro-franchises.
- Establish 250 Mercado Frescos within the city of Managua by 2018
- Successfully service 1,100 “Fresco Express” carts by 2018 and develop > 10% return for sustainability
- Expand by developing 6-8 Community Centers (Clinic, hardware store, birthday club, clothing store, etc.)
- Explore opportunities to expand to additional countries by 2019
Critical Challenges & Recommendations:
1. Risk(s) with Nicaraguan Government
- Franchise growth within the next 6-8 months may draw attention from Nicaraguan gov’t
- Lack of quality standard
- Compliance with laws (i.e. labor, audits, benefits, taxing/fees)
- Determine industry standard(s). What are they? Do we meet them?
- Determine industry requirement(s) for NGO and/or Franchise
- Implement changes needed for compliance with standard(s)
2. Lack of Fundraising
- Inconsistent methods of obtaining funds
- Need for sustainability in funding
- Currently marketing through radio, television, and banners in neighborhoods
- Consider hiring a grant-writer.
- U.S. Agency for International Development Consultant (Not full-time)
- Explore funding opportunities on a contract-inclusive basis
3. Operations and Logistics
- Obtaining reliable technology for everyday use (i.e. tracking inventory)
- Cost of technology
- Consider a “Last Mile Distribution” playbook
- Explore use of Salesforce (free license with portals)
- Explore TaroWorks
- Consider local supplier(s), if available
- Explore use of WhatsApp
- Consider utilizing Tigo
4. Target Population
- Working with low capacity/resource franchisees (i.e. earning <$2/day, inconsistent income)
- Approximately 65% single mothers
- Cultural challenges (i.e. domestic violence, dishonesty, gender roles)
- Implement in-network training(s)
- Continue to embed domestic violence training(s)
- Explore opportunities to formalize family involvement
- Consider including men in the investment(s)
5. Retention Rate
- Retention rate currently about 50%
- Significant time spent recruiting/training
- Evaluate metrics (i.e. universities, interns)
- Secondary Analysis (i.e. research culture)
- Consider UNICEF Mother, Infant, Child (MIC) Health Survey
6. Changing Food Culture
- Workers want to sell unhealthier food choices (i.e. chips & soda)
- Cultural perception of native food markets versus Mercado Fresco
- Educate workers & communities
- Collaborate with community partners