The development story of the LE MAT brand and social franchising system (look to THE BRAND) explains quite well that in Italy it was and it is still a really collective development process. We wanted social entrepreneurs to be the owners of the brand and we wanted them to contribute with their local practices to the main LE MAT quality characteristics. That’s why we first created a not for profit organization where the main social co-operatives who developed the brand. The first engaged and committed professionals joined with the aim to develop the brand and the franchise system.
Actually the ASSOCIATION LE MAT is also the LE MAT Travellers’ Association. Beside our website www.lemat.it. the LE MAT Association manages a blog called “Social Travellers” www.viaggiatorisociali.net . We are convinced that the final quality control of our LE MAT brand is the task of our travellers, they decide if the LE MAT places are really SPECIAL, they decide to return and to tell the stories of their trips and journeys with LE MAT. That’s why for us Travellers are very precious and we have to cooperate with them in developing the Le Mat travel products. Sometimes these travellers are professionals as tour operators or travel agencies. But often we find our travellers in the social networks, in the big world of social entrepreneurs. In some way all these committed people are owners of the LE MAT brand.
In 2008 we set up also a development agency, a Consortium between social co- operatives. We needed to involve other social co-operatives in Italy to develop the LE MAT brand to spread it all over the country.
And last but not least LE MAT is a strong group of experts, professionals, social entrepreneurs who manage the franchising processes, the development of the products, the marketing and communication work. They all are freelance but deeply committed to LE MAT and they call themselves LE MAT social entrepreneurs. They developed the Manuals and procedures, tested them in different places, they help the new LE MATs to develop their business. They also work to bring LE MAT outside Italy. And they bring Travellers from abroad to Italy. They are members of the Association and they are owners of the brand. They have their own social medium space where they exchange know how and procedures and where they develop training innovation.
Each LE MAT is quite SPECIAL and linked to a local network. So also if they don’t manage a HOTEL or a HOSTEL by themselves you can find a LE MAT friend and a good accommodation. You only have to ask us!
In addition there is the LE MAT TRAINING CENTRE in Umbria in one of our Hostels: LA TANA LIBERA TUTTI. Here we generally organize study visits or some of our training sections called OFFICINA LE MAT.