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.
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.
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CSS 3: Entrepreneurship
The authors would like to thank Silulo Ulutho Technologies for their assistance and insight into the company.
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-05-2018-0078Download as .RIS
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