Microfranchisees are rural women from fair trade coffee cooperatives that possess the basic skills and motivation to promote solar and other appropriate technologies and sell small solar-powered items door to door. Microfranchisees are recruited in groups of 5-10 women per group. These women are vetted by the management of their coffee cooperative to ensure that they are active community members (which provides natural sales outlets), have experience managing income from a business, and are in good standing financially (since microfranchisees handle hundreds of dollars worth of product on a regular basis).
See the profiles of the first group of TecAp microfranchisees from the cooperative CCAJ in Jalapa, Nicaragua.
TecAp launches new groups of microfranchisees
IDEAS has calculated the cost of organizing, training and launching a new group of 10 microfranchisees at around $2,300. That amount includes an initial meeting with management to present the project, a second meeting with a large group of women if management approves the project, and then a third meeting with the women who decide to become microfranchisees. Those women will be provided catalogs and signs for their homes and will convene once a month for the next three months to receive product trainings and assistance with the sales process. After these 3 days (over the course of 3 months), they will be able to continue selling and managing their business independently. Each woman has her own exclusive territory in which to sell.
Click here to donate and help launch a new group of microfranchisees.
Women-owned convenience stores will also carry TecAp products
In addition to recruiting groups of women, IDEAS will also be identifying women in key geographic areas who already have convenience stores in their homes and will be training them to become official points of sale for TecAp products. In some of the most remote regions where the products will be most needed, it is less possible to organize an entire group of women but still a very rich market for these products, so training women microentrepreneur storeowners to distribute TecAp products will be a viable alternative if organizing an entire group of women is not possible.
Funders during 2013-14 will support the recruitment and training of new microfranchisees as well as the growth of the microfranchise, which will increase the incomes of many women and rural coffee-growing families, putting needed solar-powered products in the hands of those who need them most. This program also will be a very valuable test of and testament to the possibilities of the microfranchising business model in Latin America.
Please consider supporting this groundbreaking initiative that has the potential to dramatically change the distribution mechanisms in Latin America, providing economic opportunity to rural women while bringing life-changing products to the people who need them most.
TecAp needs donations now to continue to test this innovative business model. Click here to donate.