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Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
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.
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.
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The case features WaterHealth International India (WHIN) – a subsidiary of WaterHealth International (WHI) Inc. WHIN was launched in 2006 with the vision to “be the leader…
The case features WaterHealth International India (WHIN) – a subsidiary of WaterHealth International (WHI) Inc. WHIN was launched in 2006 with the vision to “be the leader in providing scalable, safe, and affordable water solutions to underserved populations through an innovative business model.” The company incorporated a Build-Operate-Transfer model with decentralized production and distribution. Following a successful pilot project, WHIN installed its WaterHealth Centers in 175 sites throughout rural India by 2009, and attracted a $15 million investment from the International Finance Corporation to further expand its operations in India. Mr Vikas Shah, the Chief Operating Officer of the company, is faced with the issue of assessing scalability and sustainability of the company's business model. He needs to examine and evaluate the company's value proposition, resources and capabilities, and decide how to generate economic value while maintaining a focus on its social vision. The latter entails an ability to create shared value for stakeholders as an important contributor toward the company's sustainability. Additionally, Mr Shah is evaluating alternative public-private partnerships in terms of their suitability for the Indian context and viability to drive profitability.
The case uses primary and secondary data, i.e. interviews with company representatives, company reports, presentations, and consulting papers.
Relevant courses and levels
The case is written for graduate (and advanced undergraduate) students that enroll in classes with a focus on emerging markets, sustainability, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Examples are courses in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (especially those that include one or more sessions on the social dimensions) as well as those in Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development.