Editor’s note: This post has been updated on 1st April 2022 for accuracy and comprehensiveness

You Want To Make An Impact

“I want to make an impact in the world!” Is there anyone who hasn’t said these words? But what is that “impact” we all talk about? And what does a social franchise has to do with it? It seems like something so abstract that we don’t really know how to grab and give our first steps towards it. But does it have to be like that?

What Is Impact?

We could define impact as having an effect on something. It doesn’t need to be a huge effect, contrary to what most believe. Everyday we make actions that have an impact on others or in the world. When you help a friend on a task, when you decide to buy a socially responsible product, when you teach something to people… that’s creating a change. Don’t let yourself believe that impact is only about the visibility of your actions’ outcomes.

You Want A Bigger Change

But you want to go bigger. And that’s even better! You desire to give something back to your community and make a change in the lives of many people. Also, you want to see the results you had in others and feel happy for your effort. You aspire to be an impact driven entrepreneur. 

Make an impact while creating meaninful connections
We all want to make an impact, but few know how. Social Franchise might be the answer!

Start A Social Franchise

With so many social problems to solve nowadays, and so many solutions created by other people with that same will to make a change, why not help scaling them? Have you thought that building a social franchise could be just the right fit for you? A social franchise follows the same principles as a commercial franchise, with the difference that, instead of promoting private profit, you promote – that’s right – impact. You promote social benefits.

What Is SPEAK?

SPEAK is a social enterprise that is contributing to building a society that integrates, values and promotes cultural diversity. It makes use of technology to gather people in real life through language and culture exchange groups, where you can either learn a new language or teach any language that you are fluent in. The community is built of people from all backgrounds. Locals, migrants and refugees work together to solve the problem of social exclusion and to contribute to the integration of others in the cities they live in. 

After the positive results achieved in Portugal since 2014, SPEAK decided to grow internationally. Today, it has reached 12 countries and a total of 23 cities where you can experience SPEAK. And it aims at growing its community through even more cities. That’s where the founders come in. Out of these 23 cities, 20 of them were created as social franchises. 

Take SPEAK to your city! and open a social franchise
Scale your impact with a Social Franchise: Take SPEAK to your city!

Take SPEAK To Your City!

This is done through the program ‘Take SPEAK to your city’. With this program, whether you are a local, a newcomer or an institution, you have the opportunity to create SPEAK in the city where you live. This way you start a journey of helping to transform your city into a more inclusive one, and at the same time you can also create your own job.

This replication model is a structured form of transfer and replication of knowledge and experience of successful cases of organizations, applying the principles of commercial franchising to promote the common good and generate social impact. 

One of the key roles in SPEAK’s scalability is played by technology – a web platform – created to 1) make it easy for everyone to join, and 2) make it easy for you to organize and manage SPEAK in your city. This web platform handles, for example, management of language groups, automatic reminders, events management, social impact assessment, invoicing, and payments. The reasoning behind it is simple: increase automation and decrease your manual work. This way you can focus on nurturing the community.

What Does It Take?

A SPEAK founder uses a double bottom-line approach that locks a venture’s financial success hand-in-hand with social impact. Plus, a founder must be ready to collaborate with SPEAK’s network to maximize the impact and create economic sustainability of the project, individually, and across the world. 

If you are capable of that and have a passion for impact, diversity, languages, and bringing people together, and if you are confident enough that you can build and engage a thriving community of SPEAKers in your city, congratulations – you have what it takes to be a SPEAK founder! 

Khuloud Kalthoum came from Syria to Portugal, and is now the founder of SPEAK Braga

Founder Testimonial

“Everyone has the right to feel at home in the city they live” – Khuloud Kalthoum, Founder of SPEAK Braga

Khuloud Kalthoum was born in Syria, and like so many others, she had to leave her country. Her destination was Portugal. When she arrived, she had to go through the struggle of many – she didn’t know anyone and didn’t know how to speak Portuguese. But when Khuloud met SPEAK, she was instantaneously interested, and wanted to bring the project to her new community. So, through ‘Take SPEAK to Your City’, Khuloud founded SPEAK Braga. Now she is helping others learn Arabic and has joined people from all over the world in her community. 

Your Journey With SPEAK

If, just like Khuloud, you want to help solving the problem of social exclusion of migrants and refugees in your city, or maybe you just want to create a space to join people of different cultures to share their world, then it is time for you to take SPEAK to your city

Building your own SPEAK city will give you an opportunity to grow. It will take hard work, but it will be fun and meaningful. You will create a change for those around you, meet people from all over the world and learn from them. Most of all, you will belong to a global community that is shaping the future with SPEAK. You will become an inspiring mobilizer!

Author: Margarida Rita

Margarida is a Summer Intern at SPEAK. She likes to meet new people, and if they have a dog even better! She lives in Almada, in Portugal, and is currently learning German and Spanish.

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