The case includes issues in sustainable enterprises, marketing management, organizational development, organizational behavior, entrepreneurship, organizational leadership and small business management.
The Bahia Aventuras case may be used at both the undergraduate and graduate levels of study within most business school curricula (BSBA, MBA and MS). Potential courses may include building sustainable enterprises, marketing management, organizational development, organizational behavior, entrepreneurship, organizational leadership and small business management.
Bahia Aventuras is an ecotourism company in Costa Rica. A local entrepreneur, Walter Brenes, started the company in 2007 to specialize in marine tours, including whale watching, bird viewing and snorkeling. However, the founder had no business training and confronts both internal and external challenges to achieve sustainable success, both financially and environmentally. Internally, there were few financial control systems in place and as a result Walter's ability to accurately account for revenues and expenses was limited. Bahia Aventuras and Walter also faced external challenges. Construction of a new highway was likely, and that could bring more competition, including hotel chains such as the Marriott and Sheraton. Government regulation cut both ways for the company. He was the classic small businessperson, who needed help in moving to the next stage of development for his small business. Thus, a small ecotourism business was caught in the middle of rapid economic development, a growing national infrastructure and increasing pressures to preserve and protect the coastal ecosystem and rainforest of south central Costa Rica. He was just trying to figure out how to “stay alive” as a business. The case has a tragic ending for the owners. Both Walter and his partner, along with one of their tour guides, died in a car accident. But family, friends and the community has kept Walter's vision alive, and Bahia Aventuras continues to day.
outcomes Upon completion of the Bahia Aventuras case, each participant will be able to: Describe the economic development and growth prospects of ecotourism within Costa Rica. Evaluate the socio-economic challenges which confront Costa Rica as a developing nation within the Central American region. Describe how Costa Rica's environmental regulations have affected the continued growth and development of ecotourism within the country. Describe the complex set of relationships that may exist between small business owners, their employees, regulatory agencies and the local community. Apply management skills and competencies to analyze and propose feasible solutions to organizational performance problems. Explain how the implementation of sustainable business practices may serve as a catalyst for the creation of shared value for organizational stakeholders as enabled through economic growth, attainment of social equity and preservation of the environment.
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