We call them ‘free franchises’ but they’re really just simple brands and plans. And one is a turnkey toolkit for building an app almost instantly. Each is a compelling little service business anyone can start for less than $100 that promises earnings of about twice the standard low end wage in the area. They’re standardized, easy and proven service offerings. And we’re happy to launch with the entrepreneur to help them have the confidence to see how much fun it can be to make good money making customers happy. All the kits and brands are free under creative commons licensing. Each is a turnkey system, like a real franchise would be, that includes details on how the entrepreneur can be successful in providing a focused service: What to do, what to say, what to hand out, what to charge etc. The kit includes the training, the little business plan, the brand (art, signage, message) and the brochures/handouts. Here are two examples.

Advice messaging- Your own instant app for ongoing service.

It lets you message efficiently with individuals to deliver specific, ongoing personal advice. It’s free a free tool but the help you can offer could be valuable. For mentors and people in education, health, wellness and advice/consulting/service fields, it can be a great platform for ongoing income. Read more about the whyalog conversation engine here.

gZero- Graffiti cleanup without permission.

The entrepreneur’s goal is to clean up a whole block (first) and then get paid if residents are pleased (afterwards). Graffiti cleanup is a business of tremendous economies of scale. It’s not 40x as much work to clean up 40 different properties. So, with the foundation’s help, the entrepreneur invests in a paint chip color wheel and goes around cataloging the amounts and exact colors needed to clean the graffiti off a whole set of buildings – maybe a whole street or corner. Then the entrepreneur buys the small samples of each color of paint needed with help from the foundation and literally paints without permission using cheap disposable brushes and moving fast. The entrepreneur wears a gZero t-shirt or bib and posts special ‘Wet Paint’ signs that explain the initiative. He’s hoping enough beneficiaries will be pleased when he circles back tomorrow to voluntarily pay for the cleanup and help him earn a profit over the cost of paint and brushes. Typical cash cost for a cleanup is less than $10, so a suggested fee of $30-$40 is very reasonable for the customer (who didn’t have to go through the hassle of matching paint colors, buying paint, getting messy etc.). Plus, the whole neighborhood got done – so now there’s some peer pressure to show appreciation and encourage repeat cleanups when necessary.


With distinguished speakers and a vibrant set of presentations, the Novotel Toronto Summit was a great exercise. Author Robert Calderisi provided his candid insight into Duff's excessive optimism. Robert's book 'The Trouble With Africa' details his concerns of why aid isn't working. The panelists' advice was that the Duff Young Foundation needs to start with a smaller footprint (a couple of tiny structures) in a country that would be easier to launch (than Liberia).


-LOCAL food production

-CANNING local fruits and vegetables

-BAMBOO farms and plant nurseries

-GOOD DESIGN sensibility for bldgs

-URBANISM instead of sprawl

-LOCAL manufacturing, local materials