European Social Franchising Conference 2011

The first European Social Franchising Conference was held in London on 18 October with 130 participants from across Europe. To see who came, click here.

As you might expect, we thought it was a very excting event

But rather than take our word from it, here are some comments from participants

Thanks for conceiving and running the Social Franchising Network Conference yesterday. It proved to be a mine of info and good contacts for us and, as the first conference of its kind, it felt very leading-edge. Quite honestly it was just great to listen to and chat with people like us, who see the possibilities for social franchising and are working on solutions. A big heartfelt THANK UUUUUU!

Just a quick note to say a huge thank you for today, met so many great people and heard such interesting ideas

One of the most interesting things about the socdial franchisors that attended was that many of them were young - a pleasant change from most social enterprise/cooperative events in the UK!

This page provides information on the conference, a place to download presentations and links to photographs and videos from the event.

Please note that it is in the process of development, so information will be added as it is received.

The conference

The programme for the conference is provided here. There was a terrific range of discussion and insights into the nature of social franchising. Sven Bartilsson introduced the day emphasising the conference had attracted a large number of social franchisees, social entrepreneurs, policy makes and development agencies from over 10 countries

Keith Richardson presented information on the tremendous impact social franchises are having already. He was followed by Nick Hurd MP, UK Minister for Civil Society, who emphasised the importance of social entrepreneurship to the UK and the forthcoming social investment schemes, notably Big Society Capital, that would support the development of social franchises.

We then heard from four social franchises, Schoool for Social Entreprenuers, FIETEenWERK, Le MAT and BARKA. They explained what they did and why they are social franchises

Robin Murray, from the Young Foundation and London School of Economics then set social franchising in the context of social enterprise development in the age of Google. His incisive speech highlighted the importance of thinking of social franchising as a diffusion rather than growth mechanism. He produced a very valuable matrix analysing social franchises in terms of standaridsation against generative ability (flexibility and openness to enterprise) and top-down against bottom up. The position of a social franchises would change over time and would vary with the type of social franchise but there was a need to avoid becoming both standaridised and top down which is where many old coops, like the Cooperative Group in the UK, has found itself resulting in decline.

There then followed five workshops that were repeated aft lunch which looked at the future of European Social Fund and how it had supported the development of social franchises, finance for social franchises through loans and equity, identifying a good social franchise to develop (which turned into a more general discussion of social franchising from the perspective of prospective social franchisees and how social franchise able your social enterprise is and the steps you need to take.

The main session in the afternoon was a roundtable discussion which covered the European Unions Social Business Initiative and how that could benefit social franchises to a social franchisors perspective on what social franchises need to grow.

The conference finished with a discussion of the future of ESFN and its future role. ESFN’s current role is to support the development of social franchising, promote members social franchises and advocate on behalf of social franchising. Other suggestions for the future was the charging of membership fees (one participant suggested a fee of £1500!), supporting joint working between members and setting standards for social franchises.

Following the conference, it was agreed to set up a blog to allow for discussion on such subjects between members and to send out an evaluative questionnaire. Most importantly of all, ESFN would welcome and encourage further involvement of members in its development. Please e-mail or respond to the post conference evaluation form

Plenary Presentations and reports

Social franchisising - what is it and what impact is it having? Keith Richardson, Economic Partnerships and ESFN Coordinator.

Le MAT Europe - Elisabett Mattsson, Le Mat Sweden, Le MAT a social brand, Renate Goergen, Le MAT Europe

FIETSenWERK presentaton - Sven Huysmans


Social Franchising: how can it support the development of social enterprise and co-ops in the age of Google? Robin Murray, London School of Economics and Fellow of the Young Foundation

The Future of ESFN, Keith Richardson, Economic Partnerships and ESFN Coordinator.

Report on conference and roundtable discussion, Toby Johnson, AEIDL


Workshop presentations and reports

1) Social franchising – what is it and is my social enterprise/cooperative franchiseable? Presentation by Mike Berriman, Commonwheels and Economic Partnerships

2) Financing Social Franchising - loans and equity. Presentation by Carline Tulloch, Bridges Ventures, and Guy Turnbull, Care and Share Associates and Economic Partnerships

3 ) ESF – what has happened so far and how can the new ESF programme support social franchising? Presentation, Lloyd Broad, ESF  Innovation, Transnationality & Mainstreaming Unit, England and Gibraltar

4) Sharing best practise on choosing a good social franchise – what makes a good social franchise? Presentation by Sven Huysman and Keith Richardson with key points from diuscussion

5) Sharing best practise on maintaining quality within a social franchise. Presentation from Elisabett Mattson, Le Mat Europe. Presentation from Jürgen Blondeel, KOMOSIE

Photographs and videos

We have set up a Facebook group with photogtraphs from the conference. If you wish to add photographs or videos or become a member, please join the group.

Three travel videos of Le Mat can be seen on You Tube as follows one, two and three

“Piece of Sober Heaven” on the work of BARKA  can be seen in 4 parts on You Tube as follows: Part 1; Part 2;  Part 3;    Part 4;