What is Social Franchising?

The success of franchising comes from the transfer of knowledge and experience from one successful enterprise to another. With an established business concept, as well as support and training, a franchisee can quickly become successful thanks to the foundation upon which his or her business is built. While with most commercial franchises the goal is to maximize profits, social franchises use the principles of franchising for a social goal.

What is social franchising and how does it differ from commercial franchising?

Social franchises are driven by social goals, rather than profit. While the franchise does make profit, this profit is used to develop its social aims. Social aims can include food security, poverty alleviation, or environmental conservation. According to the European Social Franchising Network (ESFN), a social franchise should be a social enterprise, and  have the four following characteristics:

  1. An organization that replicates a social enterprise business model – the social franchisor.
  2. At least one independent social franchisee that has been replicated by the social franchisor.
  3. A common brand under which the social franchisees operate.
  4. An interchange of knowledge between members.

Social franchises can operate in various ways, but generally a social franchisee pays the social franchisor a fee for their support. Differing from other non-profit charities and foundations, where most of the funding comes from grants and personal donations, social franchises use the sales of their successful business model to create a better world.

For example, Community Renewable Energy (CoRE), a European social franchise, helps communities develop their own renewable energy systems to generate community income and address climate change. The franchise does so through working in partnership with a specific community, where the community is not charged for CoRE’s work, but rather as a stakeholder in the the renewable energy systems, where they take a share of the profits. This share is then used to help the next community. The social franchise essentially supports their members by providing “technical skills, shared services, and replicable models for developing renewable energy systems.”

Are you familiar with any social franchises in your area? Please feel free to comment below!

How Much Business Experience is Enough?

Franchise recruiters often look for business experience in their franchisees, but how much is enough?


Passion, dedication to customer service and a can-do attitude are all important qualities most franchises look for in potential franchisees. Natural-born cheerleaders who possess undying enthusiasm for their brand are ideal but not so necessary as someone with business experience. The most sought after franchisee candidates are those who possess some kind of business knowledge. But, if you’re an entrepreneur hoping to become a franchisee how much business experience do you really need?


When a franchise recruiter asks a potential franchisee about his or her business background it can be a bit daunting. Don’t worry; they’re not looking for a Harvard MBA graduate, they’re just looking for a good manager.


Considering your past managerial experience is a good idea whether you’re just beginning to research franchise opportunities or well into the process of becoming a franchisee. Think about your previous jobs or the community organizations to which you belong:


  • Have you ever been placed in a leadership position with delegates beneath you?
  • Have you had to report to a senior member and execute orders from “on high” while handling your daily responsibilities?
  • Are you familiar with basic accounting principles?
  • In the past, have you had to manage a crisis concerning a customer or settle a dispute between employees or team members?


Above all, a franchisee is not only the manager of his or her franchise location but also a steward of the overall brand. A candidate with prior management experience is accustomed to taking orders from above (the franchisor) and delegating to those beneath him or her (franchise employees) while managing the day to day operations of a business. It might sound easy enough, but juggling these responsibilities is not always straightforward. Franchise recruitment teams want to know you’ve been thrown a few curveballs– and knocked it out of the park.