Zetu Micro-Franchises

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Zetu Micro-Franchises

We are Atlanta GA, U.S. Based with pilot phase in Burundi, Burundi
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Zetu alleviates poverty and social problems by providing families living at the base of economic pyramid with sustainable and dignified means to earn a living by giving them profitable business models that also address social problems in their community thus empowering the poor to be the change agents in their own lives and communities.
Zetu uses a new innovative poverty alleviation tool called micro-franchising.

The Atlanta based nonprofit is initially focusing on the East Africa community nations of Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya. Zetu is beginning operations in one of the most impoverished nations in the world: Burundi. More than 65% of Burundians live in extreme poverty and less than 2% have access to electricity.

Zetu has already developed a village solar model and is currently working on piloting 5 village-solar micro-franchises in Bubanza Burundi. The model requires only $300 capital per micro-franchise and allows the entrepreneur to earn between $100 and $350 a month in a country where a teacher earns than than $75 a month.

Zetu also is in the process of developing a poultry model. The model allows different families to work different chain of activities as vaccinators, hatchery operators, chicken farmers, feed sellers, and as egg producers. The cooperative would be targeted to landless families. This model has a great potential to lift the poorest out of extreme poverty, especially landless families.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The biggest need of most poor people in developing countries is a sustainable and dignifield means to earn a living. Micro-finance goes a long way in alleviating this problem by giving people access to capital to start their own enterprises. However, most people now knows that access to capital alone is not the answer. This is because only few people in any society are entreprenurial in nature. Most people people in developing and emerging countries engage in business as a nessecity in order to put food on the plate.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Zetu Macro-Franchises is an international social enterprise that uses a new innovative poverty alleviation tool called micro-franchising (aka social franchise). Zetu exists to assist marginalized people in underdeveloped and developing countries living at the base of the economic pyramid to lift themselves out of poverty by providing them with profitable business models in the form of franchise. We do this by developing profitable micro-enterprises. Once we have a profitable micro-enterprise that is capable to be scaled and replicated, we then micro-franchise it to give a ready business model to those who are less entrepreneurial. In essence, we manufacture business models that address social and environment concerns and then put a system around them to give to those who can’t come up with their own yet need one in order to earn a living. Thus allowing people to be change agents in for their own lives and in their communities.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Zetu has already developed three social enterprise models that it plans to pilot with in Burundi. The first model is Zetu Village Solar Ventures. This model falls under our technologies that are appropriate for rural development and renewable energy categories. Basically, we install a solar panel that allows a solar village entrepreneur to charge cell phones for fellow villagers. Zetu also equip the solar village entrepreneur with two types of solar lanterns: An inexpensive solar lantern for the very poor that it will sell for less than $10.00, and a high end solar lantern that is able to charge cell phones. These solar lamps replace kerosene lanterns and burning wood which are expensive to maintain, are hazardous to health, and pollutes the environment. Currently Zetu already has one solar entrepreneur running a successful solar retail store and upon incorporating and funding would pilot 99 additional stores. Currently, the model costs about $700.00 for each micro-franchisee, but Zetu believe, it can bring the costs down to $500.00 U.S. dollars. The model allows an average village solar entrepreneur net earnings of more than $300 a month in a country where a teacher earns less than $80.00 a month. The second model is Zetu’s Kuku (Chicken) Village ventures. The poultry project is similar to the successful Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC)’s poultry model (http://www.brac.net/content/brac-poultry). The model allows different women to work as vaccinators, hatchery operators, chicken farmers, feed sellers, and as egg producers to sell to the market. The cooperative would be targeted to landless women. This model has a great potential to lift the poorest out of extreme poverty, especially landless and illiterate families. It also provides much needed nutrition. The third model is an Agriculture Production Inputs and extension services. Burundians, like most Africans, are starving for modern agriculture technology and methods. Many of them are still using the same tools and methods their for-fathers used centuries ago. Many useful tools that have potential to lift rural Burundians and other poor Africans out of poverty never reach them. This model would bring those technologies and “know-how” to their door steps. The products that this store would carry include improved seeds, irrigation pumps, fertilizers, etc., and “know-how” consultation. Zetu will continue looking for and developing micro-social enterprises that it can micro-franchise to give the poor a means to earn a living by providing them with working and profitable business models. Simultaneously, Zetu would be addressing big problems like lack of rural access to quality health-care, energy poverty, environmental degradation, food security, women empowerment, lack of technology transfer, and access to capital and markets in a sustainable and dignifying way.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Each model for Zetu faces different marketplace challenges.


Hi everyone. Lets change the world.

Jacqueline McAdam PhD's picture

Thanks for sharing your project is interesting...where are you based in Kenya..I have been connected to a project there for 23 years...look forward to learning more!