Saturday, November 01, 2008

2008 Ashoka Fellows in Franchising seeking support

Want to adopt a high impact social entrepreneur? Ashoka recently published a list of Fellows from their latest crop which include a few that are involved in franchising or have innovations that could be applicable to the training and financing of microfranchises. Ashoka typically provides a living stipend to the entrepreneur to allow them the flexibility to pursue their innovation full-time. You can support a whole stipend or give to a common fund. The average stipend amounts are calculated by regional cost of living estimates. For inquiries or to get started, contact To see Ashoka Fellows in action watch this video diary from a recent trip to Argentina.

Alice Freitas | Brazil, Connecting Informal Artisans with Conscious Consumers

Alice has created a direct sales catalog to help informal artisans overcome the challenges of large-scale distribution. An estimated 50% of all Brazilian workers-many of them women-are currently involved in the informal economy, and consequently lack access both to valuable market information regarding prices and consumer interests, and to the financial resources and bank credit required to start a business. Alice matches artisans’ groups with men and women trained as direct sales agents, providing them with thorough training and an intimate understanding of the producers’ personal histories and social impact. Capitalizing on the growth of conscious consumerism, she thus enables consumers to exercise informed decision-making, and provides them with a direct communication channel to the women behind the products. Having launched the first catalog in 2007, Alice is now developing a franchise model in order to scale her approach throughout Brazil and beyond.

Lilian Masebenza | South Africa. Fostering Income Generation for Women

Lillian incorporates income-generation and entrepreneurial development into traditional village collective models, called stokvels, capitalizing on their inherent popularity among disadvantaged women and youth in South Africa. First formed by black South Africans -mostly women- in response to financial restrictions upheld during apartheid, the stokvels have historically been used merely as a way to motivate each other to save for specific short-term needs, such as weddings, funerals, and holidays. Lillian has transformed these widely accepted savings collectives into an effective business model, using the existing networks to conduct business trainings and skills development courses. By using indigenous models as a basis for business development, Lillian provides business training, skills-development, and mentorship to groups that previously focused on saving for special occasions, fostering a new sense of entrepreneurship among the country’s most disadvantaged communities.

Vivienne Schultz | South Africa, Empowering Entrepreneurs

Vivienne’s company, Biz Africa 1399, uses a three-part approach to economically empower marginalized entrepreneurs. First Biz Africa 1399 identifies potential entrepreneurs and encourages them to develop their ideas. Then, these individuals participate in E-Hub, a nurturing, resource-rich environment that provides work space and administrative services. E-Hubs are supported by business partners who become incubators for aspiring entrepreneurs. Additionally, these relationships help create new markets and tackle the challenges faced by entrepreneurs. Vivienne realizes that she is working with a continent-wide problem and in order to tackle it she must create business networks for struggling entrepreneurs throughout Africa. In order to support her expansion plan, Vivienne has partnered with academic institutions and a continent-wide company. She is currently writing a book about how to use experiential, or hands-on learning, to foster economic

Ouattara Souleymane | Burkina Faso, Creating a Culture of Apprenticeship and Craftmanship

Souleymane Ouattara is transforming the way artisans and skilled laborers are trained and, in doing so, is opening employment options to many young people in Burkina Faso. Through his Association of Tailors, Weavers, and Associates, Souleymane has enlisted trainers in a variety of fields who together create workshops and hold training sessions for young people interested in
their professions. Everyone involved in the trainings also receives management training to ensure they understand production costs and processes, develop their marketing and creative capacities, and have the proper tools to see their businesses grow. Today the system Souleymane has set up is not only effective, but also is expanding as even the government looks at ways of using elements of his engaging training model.

Tamzin Ratcliffe | South Africa, Building Africa’s First Social Stock Exchange

Tamzin has developed the Global Social Investment Exchange (GSIX), a web-based tool that links citizen sector organizations (CSOs) with donors by mimicking traditional stock exchanges. After successfully launching the Southern African Social Investment Exchange (SASIX) in 2006, which raised $800,000 for CSOs in Southern Africa, Tamzin is now preparing to create a global marketplace using GSIX. GSIX will publish a Quarterly Prospectus for investors to choose CSOs, and then investors can buy shares in GSIX through participating brokers. Funds will be transferred to beneficiary organizations through a transparent and accountable process, and investors will have the ability to track their investments and view their impact online. Similar to financial stock exchanges, GSIX will use specific, time-bound investment and by pushing CSOs to be accountable for investments, GSIX will push the social sector to develop ways to measure social impact and, thus the return on social investments.

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