What is Social Sector Franchising?


Social sector franchising is the application of commercial franchising principles to promote social benefit rather than private profit. 

An Emerging Model: Social Sector Franchising 

Consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, mission driven organizations have recently begun to use franchising methodology to scale up the provision of vital services such as primary healthcare, agriculture, modern energy products including solar and clean cookstoves, and clean water and sanitation. While still in the nascent development stage, Social Sector Franchising (SSF) has tremendous potential to contribute to emerging economies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

SSF provides two primary, powerful benefits:

  1. Pathways to small business ownership for social sector franchisees, as well as employment and income generation opportunities for the individuals hired by these franchises. In particular, social sector franchisers shows enormous potential for women and youth entrepreneurs. A clean water social sector franchiser operating in five African countries is creating hundreds of jobs for women and youth and business ownership opportunities for up and coming entrepreneurs across the region. 
  2. Provision of high quality, consistent, life-enhancing goods and services at scale. In Cambodia and East Africa, farm agent social sector franchisees help farmers increase crop and livestock production, increase family income, and mitigate food insecurity using data driven, market facilitation at economies of scale that gives individual farmers the economic clout of large producer networks.

The following examples demonstrate the wide diversity of applications of Social Sector Franchising across the globe. Additional examples of SSFs can be found on the Social Sector Franchising Accelerator page.

 Some of the best known applications of the use of franchising to deliver social benefit include:

Healthstores ImageHealthStore Foundation improves access to essential drugs, basic healthcare, and prevention services for children and families in Kenya through CFW Clinics. HealthStore concentrates on the short list of preventable and treatable diseases (and perinatal conditions) which accounts for approximately 80 percent of childhood death. Clinics are operated by Registered Nurses who are also franchise owners, who comply with quality standards and are supported by an electronic clinic management platform providing drug inventory management, evidence-based research, and development and continuing medical education. 

The HealthStore Foundation's CFW model is a network of micro pharmacies and clinics whose mission is to provide access to essential medicines to marginalized populations in the developing world. The CFW outlets target the most common killer diseases including malaria, respiratory infections, and dysentery among others. They also provide health education and prevention services. The network operates two types of outlets: basic drug shops owned and operated by community health workers, and clinics owned and operated by nurses who provide a deeper list of essential medicines as well as basic primary care. As the franchisor, HealthStore can revoke a franchisee’s right to operate an outlet if the franchisee fails to comply with the franchise rules and standards.

The CFW model incorporates all the key elements of successful franchising: uniform systems and training; careful selection of locations; and most importantly, strict controls on quality backed up by regular inspections. And importantly, HealthStore uses the combined buying power of the full network to obtain quality medicines at the lowest possible cost.

Image of Jibu StoreJibu equips African entrepreneurs to sell affordable drinking water via profitable social franchises. As a for-profit company, Jibu is quickly scaling a network of locally owned franchise business owners, starting in urban areas of Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. Many of these franchisees are young women. Their anchor product is affordable, convenient, high-quality drinking water. Their market is the vast millions of families living in communities unable to afford many of life’s most needed necessities.

Budding entrepreneurs have big dreams. In emerging markets like developed ones, entrepreneurs envision businesses that grow organically, generate profit, benefit their communities, and leave a legacy for the next generation. They want to control their own destinies and avoid undue dependency on others. They are incredibly passionate and will take big risks to realize their dreams.

Jibu identifies, qualifies, incubates, and capitalizes budding entrepreneurs from this rich resource pool to launch franchise businesses. Jibu franchisees make money while solving their communities’ issues, generating hundreds of new local jobs and igniting a virtuous cycle of wealth generation for themselves and their communities. They have the passion, drive, and ability to get the job done. The payoff over time: hundreds of powerful new businesses and thousands of high-quality jobs -– built on the foundation of providing an affordable, lasting water source for many of the world’s underserved families.

Image of Hapinoy StoreThe Hapinoy Sari-sari Stores are small neighborhood retail shops started and run by women microentrepreneurs from their homes. Quite often these microentrepreneur mothers – or Nanays – engage in this microbusiness to augment their family’s income. The humble sari-sari store stands for many things: an extended pantry supplying the community’s daily needs, a representation of an average Filipino’s means of living, a colorful cultural icon, a massive distribution channel, and a lot more.

Since inception, the program has trained and partnered with 3,000 amazing Nanay microentrepreneurs, women microentrepreneurs who own and run sari-sari stores. With newfound confidence and strengthened zeal, our Hapinoy Nanays are now better equipped to face the challenges of running and expanding their stores. For Hapinoy, Sari-sari Stores serve as a huge opportunity—both as a business for Nanays, and as a way to bring products and services to communities, to impact the lives of so many Filipinos.

Hapinoy’s training programs include topics such as business skills, personal development, financial literacy, and family-based workshops. These training programs are supported by various stakeholders from different fields such as government and non-government organizations, multi-national corporations, microfinance institutions, and other entities that share in Hapinoy’s goal of empowering Filipino microentrepreneurs.