The Townships Project A Canadian non-profit jumpstarting business in South
African townships through microlending, microfranchising
and asset based community development.
Canadian Charitable Registration Number (86418 8420 RR0001).
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Events & Campaigns - Microfranchising Launch
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Microfranchising Launch: Trade Show and Workshops

What is Microfranchising Launch?

MicroFranchising Launch: Trade Show and Workshops is designed to kick-start MicroFranchising in South Africa by holding a trade show and workshops to promote the best microfranchise-able businesses in rural areas, informal settlements and townships. It focuses on owners of tiny businesses, bringing them together with community leaders, enterprise development professionals, microfinance providers, government policy makers, investors and social entrepreneurs. The three-day Launch is preceded by several workshops designed to find entrepreneurs who would benefit most from being featured at the Launch and who are interested in becoming microfranchisees or even microfranchisors, building their own business into a local and eventually a national brand.

Prior to the Launch, the workshop held to select business owners to be featured at the Launch is called Asset-Based Community Development (“ABCD”). This is a four-day program that effectively galvanizes business owners to improve their businesses. It starts by asking the question: “What do we have?” instead of “What do you need?” The owner identifies all assets that are available to him or her. The next question is “What do we earn?” which is designed to identify all sources and potential sources of income. And the final question is “Where do we spend it?” The answers to these questions inevitably lead to ideas for improvement. The owners are astonished at the resources available to them.

If the owners are interested in going forward to Launch after the ABCD workshop, they will then attend a one-day workshop that explains the principles of franchising. Committed businesses are  then invited to be featured at the three-day Launch provided they: (1) are profitable; (2) have a unique system, an attractive brand, and deliver a product or service that outshines the competition; and (3) benefit the previously disadvantaged, through ownership, operation or both.

The first MicroFranchising Launch: Trade Show and Workshops was held August 31st – September 2nd, 2011, in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa. Fifteen small businesses were featured offering all kinds of products and services, including reading programs, child care services, cleaning services, bicycle tours, beauty products and more. Five of these fifteen were selected to be packaged as “microfranchises” by qualified franchise consultants, paid for by the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa. This packaging should be completed by March 2014. The aim of the Trade Show is to showcase innovative new business ideas and attract investors while the Workshops provide each featured business with a roundtable moderated workshop with a variety of professional skills, focused on their specific business in order to develop a customized plan to improve it.

The second MicroFranchising Launch: Trade Show and Workshops was held October 15 – 17, 2012 in Orlando West, Soweto, South Africa. It featured thirteen tiny businesses including catering, bakeries, fast food shops, day care providers and a shoe-maker. We checked back in with eight of the thirteen business owners in March 2013, and they self-reported improvements in net income of 50% or more six months after the event. They look forward to receiving the training and investment that will form part of the microfranchising approach as The Townships Project is able to find enterprise development funding in South Africa.

The third MicroFranchising Launch: Trade Show and Workshops is scheduled for March 2014, when it is anticipated that the first microfranchises will be available to be sold to interested township entrepreneurs. The packaging of these franchises is now underway with Department of Industry funding in South Africa. – October 2013

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