Ziweto Agrovet Shops, Malawi


Website: www.ziweto.org/ziweto-agrovet-shops-raising-the-value-of-livestock-by-bringing-veterinary-products-and-services-closer-to-smallholder-farmers/

Franchise Background

Ziweto is a social enterprise operating in the livestock sector in Malawi with a mission of raising the value of livestock. The aim of Ziweto is to work across the livestock value chain and revolutionize the way that livestock and veterinary services are offered to smallholder farmers in Malawi by creating a more sustainable and entrepreneurial model of livestock service delivery. Founded in 2014, Ziweto is a registered partnership company limited by shares. By 2018, we aim to have established a network of at least 21 branded agrovet shops (trading as “Ziweto Agrovet Shops”) across Malawi that are either company owned or franchised. Currently there are three (4) Ziweto Agrovet Shops in operation in Karonga, Rumphi, Chitipa and Mzimba in Northern Malawi. We have set up a central store in Lilongwe where our head office is based. Each agrovet shop provides quality animal husbandry and health products and services to smallholder livestock farmers.

All Ziweto Agrovet Shops are owned and run by young people (not exceeding 40 years at the time of opening the franchise) who are qualified veterinarians, livestock technicians and other livestock and agricultural professionals. Quality standards are overseen by Ziweto Enterprise so customers can be confident that they are buying quality products and that they are also experience the highest standards of professional service. Over time new products (feeds and pico solar) and new services (diagnostic tests, financial services and livestock insurance) will be introduced.  Ziweto business model has been recognized globally and received awards from the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), International Franchising Association's Next Generation in Franchising (NextGen), Fledge 7 and SEED Initiative.

Protégé Background

Victor Mhango, Founder and CEO
Victor is a Malawian development professional and social entrepreneur with passion for growing youth led agribusiness enterprises. He has 10 years of development work experience with local and international non-governmental organizations in Malawi, mostly holding leadership positions in livestock based organizations including Heifer International and Land O' Lakes. Victor holds a Masters in Development Studies from the University of Leeds, UK and Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Malawi.

Mr. Mhango’s academic and professional qualifications and experience have equipped him with relevant knowledge and skills that he channels towards building social enterprises that create value for young people and society at large especially in the agribusiness ecosystem. Victor founded Ziweto (Livestock) enterprise with an aim of revolutionizing the provision of veterinary services to smallholder farmers by creating a more sustainable entrepreneurial model. Through a company owned and franchised Ziweto Agrovet Shops, they reach thousands of smallholder farmers with reliable, quality and affordable animal health services and products that contribute towards improved productivity of livestock and therefore better livelihoods for the poor.


Mentor Background

Lori Kiser-Block, The Decide Group
Lori Kiser-Block, CFE is a franchise industry executive known for her extensive knowledge and experience in franchise development. She is a dynamic entrepreneur with 30+ years of development experience in franchise management, corporate travel management with the largest travel franchisor, family business operations and dynamics, and B-to-B sales with proven success and demonstrated creativity.

Lori is highly experienced in executing franchise business growth and development strategies, analyzing industry and competitor performance, and maximizing business earnings. Her skills encompass exceptional communication, interpersonal relationships, executive management, organizational administration, customer service, and problem solving and leadership skills. She thrives in both independent and collaborative work environments. And as a former franchisee and franchisor, Lori has a great understanding and appreciation for the focus, determination and hard work required to be successful at growing a business.

Starting as a young woman in a family 7-Eleven business, Lori learned the value of creating lasting relationships with valued customers. Her career in franchising continued by selling franchises for Carlson Wagonlit Travel, part of the Carlson Companies, owner of Radisson Hotels, TGI Fridays and many other national and global brands. In early 2003, Lori joined the premier franchise consulting group, FranChoice, Inc., and helped build the consultant training program while the company more than doubled in size. In November 2006 she was named President of FranChoice and led the charge to create and maintain a high standard for sales production amongst the consultants. While at FranChoice, Lori was also instrumental i

n creating programs that provided support to local charities and to deployed personnel in the armed services.

From 2010 to January 2015 Lori was the President of Rapid Refill Franchise System. Rapid Refill was a 100-unit retail franchise system that sold remanufactured ink and toner in both the B-to-B and B-to-C markets. She was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations including contract negotiations, business planning, corporate operations, retail sales, marketing and team management. While at Rapid Refill, Lori developed and executed a highly creative and successful exit strategy that provided an exceptional financial return for both franchisor and franchisee.

Lori carries an abundance of energy and pairs this with a highly inquisitive and straightforward approach. She is a sought-after mentor and coach, and she has written for, been quoted by, and often interviewed by numerous franchise publications. Lori is a regular speaker at franchise industry events and appeared on MSNBC on a segment regarding franchise issues.

Lori now shares her experience through The Decide Group, a consultancy which helps emerging franchisors build strong systems based on solid unit economics and smart development strategies. 

 Living Case Study Accelerator Solutions Iteration Process

SSFI Roundtable Breakout Group:

Arthur L. Pressman

Nixon Peabody LLP

Katie Michalovic

AmeriCorps (Greer Relief) / UNH MACDPP

Lori Kiser-Block

The Decide Group (Mentor)

Deborah Burand

NYU School of Law

Victoria Lorvig


Victor Mhango

Ziweto (Livestock) Enterprise

Dr. Late' Lawson-Lartego

Care USA

Caroline Quijada

Abt Associates

Amanda Temoshek

Global Partners in Hope

Andrew Seid

MSA Worldwide


   Critical Issues

Ziweto’s specific objectives are to serve over 100k smallholder farmers by the end of 2018, by expanding to a total of 21 Agrovet shops, each with 5 “Lead Farmers” serving the surrounding community. It is important to Ziweto to balance profitability of each unit as an enterprise with social impact and mission. Victor identified and presented four issues that are critical to this expansion goal:

  1. How to increase sales and achieve profitability at the unit
  2. How to raise working capital ($200K) for expansion
  3. How to develop/communicate effective operating procedures
  4. How to attract high quality franchisees

Although issues #3 and #4 of essential to growth, their definitions and solutions may change as Issues #1 and #2 are resolved. They were not discussed thoroughly in this session.


Issue One: Unit Sales and Profitability Brainstorming Issue One Issue One Next Steps

Before launching such an ambitious expansion plan, the group decided to focus more on maximizing what is already working for Ziweto. This included taking a detailed stock of the product mix, margins, and customer base.

  • Cattle vaccination and treatment provide 40% of the revenue—Look at the cattle demand – map the cattle and build shops near higher concentration
  • 30% mix of preventative medicine that can go to goats, sheep, etc.
  • 20% is chicken vaccine – right now there is a supply issue so this is not being met
  • 10% equipment

Consider product diversification – make the Agrovet shops a “one stop shop” and make total use of the available space

  • Seeds (vegetable & maize)
  • Animal feed
  • Small equipment
  • Mobile banking – farmers paying for products – point of sale (debit) attracts more families

Consider building out “lead farmer” role and the number per franchise – they could help recruit people

  • Promoter
  • Distributor of products
  • Education of customer—many customers don’t fully understand the connection between their livestock’s health and the vaccine
    • Government Agents can help with education as well!

Consider partnerships

  • Microfinance—currently Ziweto pays for franchise investment; could facilitate actual investment by franchisees and lead farmers (cultivate “ownership”
  • NGOs with rural focus (Peace Corps & CARE)
    • Training/education of customers
  • SIDAI/Farmshop –Operating in Kenya
  • Corporate supplier – diversify supply chain


  1. Diversify Product
  2. Expand role of Lead Farmer
  3. Include Government Agent in Education Initiatives
  4. Affiliate with Microfinance agency to fund franchise investment
  5. Expand Marketing Channels
Issue Two:  Raise Working Capital for Expansion Brainstorming Issue Two Issue Two Next Steps
Ziweto is looking to increase their financial capacity-- raise required resources to achieve this expansion strategy; an estimated $200K.

Rotating capital fund for franchisees

  • As the program is refined, money would be available to lead farmers, and franchisees; as it got paid back it would be made available again

Continue researching alternative sources of funding

  • Grant, Equity, or Debt?
  • Get donations for vaccines?
  • Crowdfunding?
  • MFI
  • IFA Showcasing Opportunities?
  • International Funders?


  1. Look into revolving rotating capital fund
  2. Continue researching outside funding options
  3. Develop pitch materials
  4. Investment readiness education
Issue Three: Operating Procedures Brainstorming Issue Three Issue Three Next Steps

As expansion begins, how do you develop and communicate better operating procedures?

Government agents could be “competitor”—using Agrovet as supplier?

Lead Farmers

  • Inoculate Chickens
  • Sell products

Customers BUY:

  • Quarterly—chickens
  • Post-harvest
  • Foot and mouth—annual
  • Cattle—birthing, etc

To be determined at a later date.