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Nuru International: empowering farmers to fight extreme poverty

Hristina Kostadinova Dzharova (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada)
Sudheer Gupta (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada)

Publication date: 26 November 2014


Subject area

Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Study level/applicability

The case is suitable for graduate (MSc, MBA) and advanced undergraduate (BSc, BAs) students and applicable for course material focusing on social entrepreneurship, social ventures, strategic management, sustainable development and emerging markets.

Case overview

This case explores Nuru International, a non-profit enterprise established in 2008 with the mission to “end extreme poverty throughout the world”. Jake Harriman, the founder and CEO of NURU, together with his team are on the onset of diversifying crop offerings among Kenyan farmers in an attempt to alleviate challenges stemming from severe climatic changes and low-crop quality. As 2014 is the first year for Kenyan farmers to grow alternative crops, the Nuru team faces the challenging task of convincing farmers to embrace diversification. Additionally, as part of its proof of concept philosophy, Nuru is establishing operations in Ethiopia. There, Nuru has to identify best marketable crops and promote these among Ethiopian farmers while empowering and engaging local leaders in the process. Finally, the team is looking for financing opportunities for Nuru's entrepreneurial mission. Their funding opportunities come from the private markets, the philanthropic market and the impact investing space. They are carefully analyzing these options and looking for alternatives in capital markets. Pondering on Nuru's rewarding experience with KIVA, a Web-based lending platform, the team wonders if crowdfunding may be a viable option to finance Nuru's operations in Ethiopia. They are interested in equity crowdfunding but are not sure what might be the associated opportunities and risks. They, therefore, need to assess the merits of the practice and decide on how compelling it is for Nuru's expansion plans to Ethiopia.

Expected learning outcomes

The case aims to help students comprehend the role of hybrid organizational designs in meeting broad societal issues such as extreme poverty; evaluate collective impact initiatives in addressing strategic and behavioral changes for organizations operating in contexts of extreme poverty where partnerships are the key for success; assess diverse capital steams for social entrepreneurs and understand how these relate to the stages of evolution of a social venture; and elaborate on crowdfunding as a nascent source of capital for social enterprises.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only. Please contact your library to gain login details or email to request teaching notes.



Dzharova, H.K. and Gupta, S. (2014), "Nuru International: empowering farmers to fight extreme poverty", , Vol. 4 No. 8.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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