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Silulo Ulutho Technologies: African social enterprise driving inclusive business practice

Eckard Smuts (Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa)
Sophia Campello Beckwith (Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa)
Ncedisa Nkonyeni (Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa)
Ella Scheepers (Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa)
François Bonnici (Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa)

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies

ISSN: 2045-0621

Publication date: 14 March 2019

Abstract

Learning outcomes

This paper aims to present an opportunity to explore the opportunities and challenges involved in running a business with a strongly ingrained social vision in the complex, multi-dimensional environment of an emerging economy. Key learning areas are as follows: How the concept of inclusive innovation applies to the real-world difficulties faced by businesses operating in informal economies. By exploring the tensions between growth and inclusivity in Silulo’s development, students will grasp the challenges entrepreneurs face as a business starts to gain momentum and change, and gain appreciation for the trade-offs that occur when choosing between franchising and organic growth. The challenges of a rapidly evolving technological environment, the need to adapt service offerings at pace, and the importance of balancing financial considerations with deeper social values will find application far beyond the informal economy context of the Silulo story.

Case overview/synopsis

This teaching case looks at Silulo Ulutho Technologies via CEO Luvuyo Rani and the challenges he faces in balancing expansion and profitability with its mission of empowering disenfranchised communities – challenges exacerbated by a changing telecommunications environment, with more widespread internet availability, mobile phones and online training courses encroaching on Silulo’s traditional service offering.

Complexity academic level

This case focusses primarily on the processes of inclusive innovation and is suitable for graduate courses in social entrepreneurship, business model innovation, sustainability, business and society, strategic management, emerging markets, business in Africa and organisational studies in general. The case is suitable for Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Executive MBA academic programmes and delegates on Executive Education programmes.

Supplementary materials

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

Subject code

CSS 3: Entrepreneurship

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Silulo Ulutho Technologies for their assistance and insight into the company.

Citation

Smuts, E., Campello Beckwith, S., Nkonyeni, N., Scheepers, E. and Bonnici, F. (2019), "Silulo Ulutho Technologies: African social enterprise driving inclusive business practice", Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, Vol. 9 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/EEMCS-05-2018-0078

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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