The latest competition at Changemakers is entitled Young Men at Risk. At the ESR Conference John Hatch brought up this issue in the context of his microcredit experience multiple times. FINCA finds that their clients' strategy for escaping poverty is to see that their kids get an education. Now those children of microcredit borrowers are graduating from high school but there are no jobs in their local communities. John Hatch sees disaster written all over if these young people cannot be channeled into productive employment. He therefore sees the children of microcredit borrowers as ideal candidates to be microfranchise operators. I liked his recommendation that the mother co-sign on the contract to become a microfranchisee.
It is hard to argue against him. My field experience indicated that the typical microcredit borrower is not a good candidate to operate a franchised unit. A large part of it has to do with simple life-cycles: the typical microcredit borrower is a bit older, they have little desire or confidence to change businesses, or to start something from scratch. They are often illiterate and have no experience keeping business records. The children of microcredit borrowers on the other hand are better educated than their predecessors, they can read and write, are anxious for employment, and have the vitality and youthful optimism and drive to start a new business.
Young Men at Risk --- An army of microfranchisees