A Global Force for Change: Social sector franchising needs more advocates to support research, funding and metrics to understand its potential.

Author:Maddocks, Bill

Social sector franchising is a potentially powerful new model for scaling social enterprises: a possible game changer for creating meaningful jobs, business ownership, and the distribution of life-changing goods and services to millions of people in some of the world's most disadvantaged regions.

During the past three years, the IFA's Social Sector Task Force has collaborated with the Center for Social Innovation & Enterprise of the University of New Hampshire to create an annual gathering of leaders in this emerging field, as well as provide mentoring support to early-stage social sector franchisors through the Social Sector Franchise Accelerator.

Apps and Girls is one of a growing number of social sector franchises. Women in Tanzania are more likely to be part of the informal labor economy, hawking cheap items by the roadside often as their only option for income generation. According to the International Labor Organization, 74 percent of women, in contrast to only 61 percent of men, are more likely to be employed in these lower-paying jobs in sub-Saharan Africa, making them vulnerable to low job security, a persistent cycle of poverty, and exploitation. While education levels are increasing in Tanzania, science technology engineering and mathematics education for girls remains low. Jobs in the small, but growing, high-tech sector go largely to boys.


Carolyne Ekyarisiima is seeking to provide young women with a competitive advantage through skills learned at computer coding classes offered by her social franchise, Apps and Girls Foundation. For emerging market countries, social sector franchising can be a powerful economic development tool, which "provides training for low skilled youth; does not require extensive business experience to start a small business; provides extensive and continuous support for the franchisees, helping young entrepreneurs succeed and thus fostering an entrepreneurial culture," according to Hachemi Aliouche and Dominique Bonet Fernandez, authors of the chapter "Social Entrepreneurship and Franchising: A Panacea for Emerging Countries?" in Management and Governance of Networks: Franchising, Cooperatives and Strategic Alliances.

Ekyarisiima was a 2016 winner of the IFA's Next Gen Global Competition, which engages young entrepreneurs who are seeking opportunities in franchising, and attended the IFA annual convention in Las Vegas in January 2017. She was invited to apply to the University of...

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