- We have grown from 2 franchises in 2 countries 20 months ago (January 2015) to 140 new business launches (30 franchises and 110 microfranchises) in 3 countries and are now launching over one new business per week.
- About 12 million liters (>3 million gallons) of drinking water has been served to approximately 300,000 consumers and we have created over 300 jobs through our franchises, many of these filled by women and youth.
- Jibu Rwanda has already broken even against operating expenses and is on track to be profitable soon, 18 months ahead of schedule. We continue to stand amazed at our franchisees.
- We will soon pilot the introduction of new products and services at our storefronts. Our vision has always been to leverage the high foot traffic our water generates to sell other impactful products and services that meet infrastructural needs for the underserved.
- We are on track to test a ‘Regional Developer’ middle-tier in our model soon, probably in Tanzania. From inception, we have planned to replicate our franchisor function by licensing others to open up new regions using the Jibu blueprint as soon as we were confident we had a reproducible model. If successful, this will be a great multiplier for our pace of growth.
- Jibu has been incredibly fortunate to attract top-notch talent. New team members Mark Mutaahi (Uganda Country Director), Nenneya Shields (Director Impact and Learning), and Teo Lamiot (Associate Impact and Learning) are already making significant contributions. Mark is setting a new standard for what we need in a Country Director. We know that we have been making great impact with underserved populations, but haven’t been great at capturing and documenting this impact- Nenneya and Teo are masterfully leading that charge for us, as well as refining our training materials.
- We had to make significant and painful leadership changes in Rwanda recently. In spite of our management stumbles, the franchises amazingly have continued to thrive well beyond our expectations- we are very fortunate to have such great franchisees and a ripe market. So, we are now searching again for a Rwanda Managing Director– do you know anyone looking for a very cool and meaningful position like this?
- In an interesting contrast, we think we now have a top notch leadership team in Uganda and mature systems– but water sales have not been increasing as proportionally as we had expected. However as we have been emphasizing to the franchises that they really are the owners of their businesses!, this has fostered a more energized and creative sales culture among them. There now appears to be a positive same store sales trend beginning to occur.
- In Kenya, we had to re-learn (again!) that we need to launch a company-owned store first when opening a new market to ensure proper customer-feedback loops and to hammer out inevitable operational challenges.
- We continue to learn how to contextualize our model to the subtle differences between countries, and navigate the tension between what is negotiable and non-negotiable in our model.
Nice things being said
Thanks to so many of you saying nice things about us, we continue to receive outsized opportunities to share the Jibu story, most recently at the White House, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and the Toronto Global Economic Forum among other venues. What seems to resonate with audiences is not just the expanded access to drinking water we are bringing, but our business model – how we are primarily fueled by our passionate, co-invested local entrepreneurs who are pathfinding a new way for social enterprises to be more than just sustainable.
In addition to the positive press, we were also honored by B-Lab as one of the “Best in the World” B-Corps recently. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this BBC mini-documentary on Jibu.
We are currently raising $7M of equity and grants in our Series B growth round. It is going well but we need some help to reach this goal by the end of the year. Equity investments hopefully generate a nice return while grants provide leverage and grants highly leveraged to multiply impact. This funding would enable us to launch 1000 new franchises, expand to at least 10 new countries (with some in new continents) and, most importantly, be able to continue our current growth trajectory fueled primarily by organic profit rather than solicit future grant or equity investments.