By Annie Baptiste

For one, a Wednesday afternoon at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Franchising Plus, together with UCT’s Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the International Centre for Social Franchising, with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, recently conducted the first Social Franchise Accelerator Programme for ten social impact organisations. If you are wondering what a social franchise is, it is simply an organization that delivers social support services, through using franchising mechanisms.

Systems and procedures are critical to any type of franchise, whether commercial or social. Trying to explain the importance of standardized systems and procedures to commercial entities is always challenging, but trying to explain the importance of these when replicating social impact services took on a whole new level of challenge. Franchising Plus always try and incorporate a store visit into the training we present. McDonald’s, with their fantastic Open Door store visit programme, came to the party and arranged a visit for our group, within walking distance from the UCT Graduate School of Business, where the accelerator was taking place.

The second aspect these organisations have in common with McDonald’s is growth through franchising, to areas where there is a demand for their product or service. Silulo Technologies for example, is an ICT service provider in rural communities in the Eastern Cape, supplying much needed communication and technological support. Due to high demand for their services, they are on an expansion drive.

Thirdly, these organisations succeed through dedicated people. Belinda McKenna from McDonald’s flew down to Cape Town to facilitate our Open Door and positively raved about the company she works for. In the social sphere, somebody like Shona McDonald from ShonaQuip has dedicated 20 years of her life to manufacture and supply rural friendly wheelchairs to disadvantaged disabled kids. She has even lobbied to change legislation and continues to fight for funding to deliver these wheelchairs where they are needed most.

Fourthly, these organisations grow their teams with people from within. McDonald’s is known for promoting from within and this has always ensured better performing and more committed people at all levels. Ikhamva Youth provide tutoring to school children in the disadvantaged areas of the Western Cape and almost all their current tutors are ex-pupils of the programme.

Fifthly, sustainability is key for the survival of any organization. For McDonald’s it is profit. For U-Turn Ministries, an organization who feeds and rehabilitates homeless people, sustainability means food donations but also the selling of vouchers to the public, who can hand these out to homeless people to redeem against meals and training courses.

And in sixth place, all these organisations create social impact. McDonald’s through job creation and their CSI Initiatives and sponsorships, African Honey Bee through empowering rural families to farm honey, Open Africa through creating tourism routes in township areas and then training and supporting local businesses to generate an income from tourism and related services. Philani assist new mothers with training and guidance on feeding and taking care of their babies, through their Mentor Mother’s programme, thus ensuring healthy children.

Isn’t it amazing that the powerful mechanism of franchising can even be used to create some good in this world? What has your franchise done lately, to make a difference in the world?