To read this content please select one of the options below:

The rise (and almost fall) of Maneli Pets

Jabulile Msimango-Galawe (Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Amanda Bowen (Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Angie Urban (Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Publication date: 11 January 2023


Learning outcomes

At the end of the case discussion, students should be able to:▪ analyse and discuss networks as a form of social capital;▪ identify and discuss alternative growth strategies for an small, medium, micro enterprise (SMME) in the context of prevailing challenges;▪ use the six domains of the entrepreneurship ecosystem to identify and discuss factors that enhance and challenge a business with particular reference to an SMME; and▪ analyse and understand the key dimensions of entrepreneurial behaviour using the case protagonist as an example.

Case overview/synopsis

Nhlanhla Dlamini, the managing director of Maneli Pets based in Johannesburg, South Africa had opened an office in Cincinnati in the USA in July 2019 to take over the distribution and marketing of the company’s high-quality protein pet treats. Just over eight months later, the COVID-19 pandemic exploded across the world resulting in unprecedented disruption to people’s lives, world trade and the global economy.Now, in June 2022, Dlamini contemplated the successes and challenges he had experienced since starting Maneli Pets in 2016, not least of which was parting company with US-based Novel Dog LLC, which had previously marketed and distributed the pet treats. He had built an internationally accredited factory from scratch, produced pet products and a brand that was appealing to the competitive international market, and exported to 12 countries around the world. However, Dlamini had also faced the retrenchment of a large number of staff, the breakdown of the relationship with Novel Dog, the difficulties of setting up a distribution business in the USA along with overseeing the South African factory, and in September 2019, his co-founder, Sipha Ndawonde, had left Maneli Pets.Maneli Pets had served Dlamini’s philanthropic purpose of creating jobs and contributing to the growth of the South African economy. Despite the setback of parting ways with Novel Dog, he hoped to continue to create jobs and return to and exceed the staff numbers he had achieved by 2018, regardless of the hard work involved.In his dual position of managing director of Maneli Pets, based in Johannesburg, and sales director of the distribution and marketing arm, Nandi Pets Inc. in Cincinnati, Dlamini had a global view of the companies’ financials that he realised had been missing initially. Would the new structure of Maneli Pets he had created in 2019 in a pre-pandemic world see the company profitable by the end of 2022? What else could he do to take the company to the next level?

Complexity academic level

MBA, Masters in Management, Postgraduate Diploma in Business, Executive Education short courses.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS 3: Entrepreneurship.



Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision-making. The authors may have disguised names; financial and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.


Msimango-Galawe, J., Bowen, A. and Urban, A. (2023), "The rise (and almost fall) of Maneli Pets", , Vol. 13 No. 1.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles