Nov. 18 SVMN Mtg: Beyond Microfinance: Franchising in Microfinance

Beyond Microfinance

How Franchising Makes Communities, Businesses and Lenders Richer

The next Silicon Valley Microfinance Network (SVMN) meeting will be on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 and will feature David Lehr , Senior Advisor, Social Innovations at Mercy Corps and Chuck Slaughter, founder of Living Goods.

Chuck Slaughter                                                                                          David Lehr


SVMN’s next Speaker Event will continue with an innovative theme of Franchising in Microfinance.  This meeting will address the magic of microfinance and the ability it has to catalyze existing productive activities, helping local entrepreneurs expand their businesses. As time has passed, however, several limitations have become apparent. Most people are not cut out to be entrepreneurs. A good portion of microfinance clients are “forced entrepreneurs” who have no alternative for generating income. In addition, only a small number of microenterprises ever grow into small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that offer significantly more job opportunities for non-entrepreneurs. Finally, financing SMEs in a sustainable, scalable way has proven to be fairly elusive.

Is the franchise model an answer to these challenges? Proven, turnkey solutions with the potential to scale and a degree of support from the franchisor would seem to address these issues. Are there examples of successful, sustainable microfranchises? What are the key elements for success? What challenges have been encountered in executing on a micro-franchise strategy?

David Lehr and Chuck Slaughter bring their rich, practical experiences in micro-franchising to answer these questions and others.

For background reading, a copy of David’s working paper “Microfranchising at the Base of the Pyramid” can be downloaded here.

Register early!  Online registration closes the day of the event.  At-the-door admission is $10 more.

To register, please click on the SVMN registration link here:

When: Wednesday, November 18, 2009

6:00-6:30 — Sign-in, dinner, networking
6:30-7:15 — Intros and speaker presentation
7:15-8:00 — Q&A
8:00-8:30 – Networking

Where: Hanson Bridgett offices

425 Market Street, 26th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
(directions here)

There is a parking garage (entrance on Fremont St) that costs $10 after 4:30pm.


in advance: $20 regular attendee | $10 students & non-profits (w/ ID)
at the door: $30 regular attendee | $20 students & non-profits (w/ ID)
(includes dinner + drinks)

Speaker Bio:

David Lehr

David Lehr has over fifteen years of experience in international business development, particularly in the area of information and communications technologies. He is currently Senior Advisor, Social Innovations at Mercy Corps where he works to develop sustainable businesses in the failed and fragile states of the world that create employment and economic growth.  David has also consulted for several non-profits, including the Gates Foundation and Acumen Fund, has written widely on the use of the mobile phone for development and on microfranchising and co-leads a class on market-based approaches to addressing poverty at UC Berkeley.

David has broad experience in microfranchising and is developing a franchised network of sustainable health stores in Guatemala and also worked with Drishtee in India as an Acumen Fund Fellow. He has also held management positions with key Silicon Valley companies, including launching Adobe Systems in China, and has lived and worked in several countries in Asia and speaks Mandarin Chinese. David was a Fellow at Stanford University, holds a Masters from the University of California, San Diego, and a BA from the State University of New York at Albany.

Chuck Slaughter

Chuck Slaughter founded TravelSmith Outfitters in 1991 and built it into the #1 brand in travel wear with over two million customers and $100 million in sales. Since selling TravelSmith Chuck has devoted his energies to building vibrant enterprises in both the private and social sectors. As its pro-bono president Chuck lead the turnaround of the HealthStore/CFW Shops, a system of micro franchised clinics serving the poor in Kenya. On the business front, in affiliation with private equity firm Golden Gate Capital he has participated in the acquisition and turnaround of 10 major apparel brands with combined sales over $2 billion including Spiegel, Newport News, Norm Thompson and Express.

In 2006 Chuck founded Living Goods – the ‘Avon of Rural Health’. Working in partnership with BRAC and others Living Goods aims to build fully sustainable networks of mobile health entrepreneurs for defeating the diseases of poverty in Africa. In the late 1980’s Chuck served as a Program Officer for Trickle Up, a pioneering microfinance program. Chuck was a recipient of Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the year award. He currently serves on the boards of Three Day Blinds, BRAC-USA, Living Goods and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and is a member of the Initiative for Global Development and Technoserve. Chuck earned both a BA and a Master’s in Public and Private Management from Yale.

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