What is Microfranchising?

We broadly define microfranchises as the replication of microbusinesses that can be easily replicated by following proven marketing and operational concepts. The overall objective of microfranchising is to promote economic progress for microentrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid. This allows the start-up costs of microfranchises to be minimal. The key principle is replication: replicating success to scale.

Microfranchising, is an economic development tool formally researched, tested, and initially coined at the Ballard Center. Microfranchises provide sound business opportunities and services to the poor by introducing scaled-down business concepts found in successful franchise organizations. Faculty and students at the Marriott School have been involved in researching and participating in microcredit, microfinance, and microenterprise development activities since the mid-1990s. Our perspectives on microfranchising are seen through that lens.

Watch the video below to learn more about microfranchising:

Why is Microfranchising Needed?

It is well known that there are a lack of employment opportunities in developing countries, leaving 3 billion people—nearly one half of the world’s population—in poverty (living on less than $2 a day). As a result, in order to survive, many people start a microenterprise—a small business that is started with a meager amount of capital, such as becoming a street vendor, tailor, independent mechanic, etc. A large portion of the microbusinesses operated by people in developing countries fail or exist on subsistence levels, leaving hundreds of millions in extreme poverty. Microfranchising is a new tool designed specifically to assist these microentrepreneurs to become more successful and reach economic self-reliance through the provision of successful business models with the necessary initial and ongoing training needed to succeed.

Learn More

Those interested in learning more about microfranchising, check out the books that started it all: MicroFranchising – Creating Wealth at the Bottom of the Pyramid and Where There Are No Jobs – The MicroFranchise Handbook. Former Ballard Center postgraduate Peery Fellow, Jason Fairbourne, leader of the Microfranchising Initiative can be reached here.