The Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes visionaries who see what might be and are willing to take the risks that traditionally accompany any new endeavor, and possess the management skills to create a successful business enterprise through franchising.
Hillstrom’s work to meld franchising with the delivery of basic health care to families in developing countries mirrors the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit of franchising. By bringing together social sector franchising and commercial franchising, he has illustrated the positive impact of standardization to build a brand and address an urgent need. “Commercial franchising can do more to spare the world’s poor from needless suffering and death than just about any other method presently being attempted in the developing world,” says Hillstrom.
Hillstrom, an attorney, entrepreneur and business advisor, co-founded the HealthStore Foundation in 1997 after studying the causes of suffering and death among children in Africa. HealthStore’s mission is to promote the use of the commercial franchise model to deliver more and better health care for less cost to the world’s poorest people. Today, the HealthStore operates 65 micro-clinics under the CFWclinics brand in Kenya. These clinics are owned and operated by nurses who serve in poor communities to provide routine primary care and essential medicines along with health educational and prevention services.
HealthStore’s franchise business model incentivizes health care providers to comply with standards of care necessary to effective health care in places where low-standards result in needless suffering and death. Since the opening of the first clinic in 2000, Hillstrom estimates that approximately 4 million people have been served. Last year, the HealthStore Foundation licensed its system to a sister organization that is now developing the Rwandan market. This year it is supporting the implementation of a franchise clinic system sponsored by USAID, the foreign aid arm of the U. S. government, in Eastern Congo.
Hillstrom presently maintains a small law practice and serves on two company boards in addition to an active volunteer role with HealthStore Foundation. Prior to co-founding HealthStore, he was a volunteer president for 10 years with Steiger International, a global youth evangelism ministry. He was a managing partner of the law firm Hillstrom & Bale, Ltd. in the 1980s and, in the 1990s, he served as co-founder and managing director of Rehab One, Inc., a multi-state network of hospital-based medical clinics.
Hillstrom is a member of the IFA Social Sector Franchising Task Force. Hillstrom earned a Juris doctor degree, graduating cum laude, from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul and a bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology and public health from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
About the International Franchise Association
The International Franchise Association is the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. Celebrating over 50 years of excellence, education and advocacy, IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising. Through its media awareness campaign highlighting the theme, Franchising: Building Local Businesses, One Opportunity at a Time, IFA promotes the economic impact of the more than 825,000 franchise establishments, which support nearly 18 million jobs and $2.1 trillion of economic output for the U.S. economy. IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in marketing, law and business development.
Matthew Haller, 202-662-0770
Jenna Weisbord, 202-662-0766