Are you ready to replicate?

By Heather Parker

Got a social enterprise you want to scale up? Dan Berelowitz, co-founder and chief executive of the International Centre for Social Franchising (ICSF), suggests this 10-point checklist for self-assessing your project’s readiness.

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Sharing this list in UK daily newspaper The Guardian, he proposed giving a score out of 10 for each question, where 1 is “not at all ready” and 10 is “completely ready”. Then tally them up and consider a total of 75 the “pass rate”.

1  Is the social impact proven and evaluated?
If you’re not sure that your project is creating good social value, your time and scarce funding may be better spent elsewhere. How do you know? “Ideally, this would involve independent evaluation, but at the very least you need great case studies, stories, surveys… measure key outputs and benchmark against other similar projects where possible,” writes Berelowitz.


2  Has a sustainable business model been developed and demonstrated?
Or, what is the long-term money plan?


3  Can your project succeed in another place without its main assets?
Without your passion and the commitment of your team, would your project still have momentum? And do you have assets – such as access to buildings – that are not easily replicated in another context? If you can’t easily replicate assets, any potential franchise might be unsustainable.


4  Can your project flourish in other cultures and conditions?


5  Are there processes, systems, training and procedures developed for delivery and quality?


6  Does everyone from staff to board, and external stakeholders support replication?
“Replicating your organisation is a significant undertaking,” says Berelowitz, “and having all the right people on board is vital.”


7  Are the legal arrangements in place?
You need proper contracts, especially with regard to your financial affairs.


8  Are your brand and values clear?
Commercial entities are fiercely protective of their brands, and so should you be. If your franchisees don’t share your values, you’re risking everything.


 9  Does a significant market exist?


 10  Is there a supply of willing and able franchisees?


Total […….|100]

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US$ 500 million – The amount, as an asset class, that JP Morgan estimates social businesses will be valued at in the next five years.


Social franchisers and entrepreneurs need to network as much as their commercial counterparts. Perhaps even more so – in a socially driven business, people are a critical source of support, inspiration and operational know-how.

You’ll find plenty though the African Social Entrepreneurs Network (ASEN), a community of people who are passionate about addressing social and environmental challenges.

Join or get details at

Inside | Heather Parker


Heather Parker is a journalist, editor, UCT MBA-graduate and lover of her home city, Cape Town. She’s also the Legacy Officer in the World Design Capital 2014 team at the City of Cape Town. The team is working with the City to identify and further develop design-thinking culture within City structures. Heather clearly loves her job.


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