FAQs about social franchising

What is the importance of social franchising?

In essence, social franchising is important because it seeks to make a difference to the lives of the poorest by striving to achieve one or a combination of the UN’s SDGs. Social franchising is becoming critically important because of the positive impact it can have on the world’s poorest individuals, which are often referred to as falling in the base of the pyramid (BOP). There is social franchising for health, safe drinking water, adequate food supply, authentic drugs, quality healthcare, education, sanitation, energy, family planning, recycling operations, ethical beauty, workspaces, volunteering placements and non-profit advisory centres, among others.


How is social franchising different from commercial franchising?

The primary difference between social and commercial franchising is the goals that they have. Whereas a commercial franchise is profit-driven, social franchising is driven by a social agenda that seeks to empower people at the BOP in a sustainable way. Although it may involve lower profit margins, lower prices and higher volume transactions – its ultimate aim is not profit-seeking but rather poverty alleviation.


What are the challenges of social franchising?

As commendable as the social franchising business model may be, and as much as it’s more capable of delivering on its objectives than organisations such as NGOs for example, social franchising still faces certain challenges, among which are:

  • Sufficient and consistent funding
  • Unique and challenging social landscape
  • Unfamiliar environments
  • Lower profit margins
  • Longer time to break even

Is the social franchising model right for your organisation?

Organisations that are considering the social franchising model are advised to consider the following factors before embarking on this transformational journey:

  • A concept based on a proven and successful business model 
  • Sufficient customer demand to warrant expansion
  • There is an adequate number of prospective franchisees
  • Management is committed to the necessary investment in resources
  • The social franchise business has been systematised
  • It’s relatively easy for franchisees to replicate the business model
  • There is industry demand for such a product or service

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