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Take a look at some of the existing Social Franchises and what they do.

How society is better

Making a bigger and better social economy

Social franchising


We have discovered a new and often a better way improving social economies or enterprises that create jobs, particularly disabled people, and society more generally.

Overall we, our Members, show how we can have a more major effect than private businesses and even social economies. There is much more details on our web pages, like our Members, Conference 2014 and News. You can see them on the left and right side of the website.

But now you can find out what has happened our new way and how we are growing economies – much faster than we expected.

The new exciting way

In 2008 at least 20 social economies developed a new way of working. They didn’t want it to be a small economy even if it was local and effective but didn’t have a great overall affect with say recycling.

Neither did they want an organisation getting bigger, but communities have less control of say children care and might be getting bigger but having less impact.

This seems impossible to have local control, effectiveness and have a big impact.

But there is a way. Look at a bird – the single starling bird doesn’t do very much and it is definite not beautiful - but then look at the millions of starlings which are amazing. Not one of them is the ‘boss’. So they work collectively and this is what the social economies started doing.

How social franchising was developed

In 2008 we invented a new name for social economy – social franchising. We worked collectively like many types of birds. We had set up social franchises and franchisors.

The social franchiser runs, for example, manage cycling or care for older people and has a few or 100s of staff (many often with learning disability). They are owned by the local community and manage most of the work so they are very effective and, with the other social franchisees, own the social franchisor. The social franchisor does shared approaches for social franchisees on marketing, running the same brand, similar finance, training and so on. This means they have a shared approach and are more effective.

We carried out research and we found there were over 50 enterprises that we felt were social franchisors.  Many of them began to uses our name social franchising when they realised they were actually not alone.

Realising people wanted to work together on how to growth or set up a social franchisor we called it the European Social Franchisors Network.

But are social franchisors really having an effect?

The major effect

Social franchising means the enterprises are collective, are local and have a substantial and greater effect.

You can look in much more detail in other web pages. But basically in 2011 there were 18 social franchisors agreed to be ESFN Members and they had over 6000 staff. You might think that this is good, but in 2014 we found we had 33 (now 36) social franchisors joining as Members and now have over 22,000 staff.

So there is no doubt that social franchising is having a major effect with Members like the recycling De Kringwinkel in Flanders with 31 social franchises has 4900 staff and 80% of whom are disabled.

A much newer and smaller Member, Pluss in UK, runs environmental car cleaning with 100 staff.  It grew rapidly by 387% from 2011 to 2014. Indeed, our original Members have grown by 25% over three years – so we have grown much faster compared to many private businesses.

How we can work together

Of course, social franchisors can work in slightly different ways in their work, there area and so on. But there are key ways how you and our Members can work together.

  1. Help your social franchisor grow by, for example, publicity, develop training, conferences and generate income.
  2. Develop your social economy to be a bigger effect as a new social franchisor and work with Members and us.
  3. Support the rapid growth of social franchising - governments (regional, national and European), charitable agencies, finance/banks can work with Members, ESFN social economies wishing to be a social franchise.  
  4. Find out more about social franchising for students, researchers and so on

There is much more work on how we can work together. Please see more information on our website or contact