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A World Of Difference

A microfranchise program seeks to reduce poverty in underdeveloped countries.

This story appears in the December 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Working to bring the franchising model to underdeveloped countries, Microfranchise Development Corp.'s new program will allow entrepreneurs to make a difference with their businesses in ways that go beyond their pocketbooks. Developed in cooperation with the Organization of American States: Trust for the Americas, the Micro-franchise Education and Loan (MEL) Program will operate from MEL Business Centers. The idea: Take existing products and services and bundle them as stand-alone microfranchises that serve as easily managed business opportunities for citizens of poverty-stricken countries.

"Often [these] people aren't trained to be self-employed and have no cutting-edge ideas for business available to them," says program creator Marc Blumenthal. "I believe franchising can offer them a sustained approach to employment that will have an impact on [their communities]."

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