Skip to Content
Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.

Center for
Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Economic Development

An unexpected error occurred while connecting to the Alfresco repository. Please contact the server administrator for assistance.

George P. Shultz: "Issues on My Mind"

Published: September 24, 2013
[photo - Issues on My Mind]
- Janine Zacharia

LaborVoices: Last-Mile Supply Chain Visibility

Speaker(s): 
Dr. Kohl Gill, Chief Executive Officer, LaborVoices
Published: October 10, 2013
[photo - Dr. Kohl Gill]
Download  08 minutes,
More from this series: Responsible Supply Chains Conference

Credits:

Stefan Castelán

EcoPost: Financing a Green Startup in Africa

Academic Case Study by:
Jesper B. Sorensen, Michael Kennedy, Gina Jorasch
Published: 2012
[photo - Jesper B. Sorensen]

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, EcoPost manufactures construction posts out of the thousands of tons of plastic waste produced daily by the city. The posts, which are manufactured using second-hand industrial equipment, are frequently used to build fences, park benches, and other objects. Because lumber is very scarce in Kenya, and subject to theft and termite damage, the posts sell very well, and the company has trouble keeping up with demand. The company’s directors are seeking financing to purchase new equipment and scale and diversify their production. 

GSB Faculty, Students and Staff only may view PDF document, authorization required.

Paper Copy: You may purchase this case from Harvard Business Publishing.

Case No: IDE02

Mobius Motors: Building an African Car

Academic Case Study by:
Jesper B. Sorensen, Michael Kennedy, Gina Jorasch
Published: 2012
[photo - Jesper B. Sorensen]

Mobius Motors manufactures and sells low-cost cars in the Kenyan market. The company strives to make the cars such that they are affordable, yet still perform well on Africa’s generally poor road networks. The company has attracted a lot of attention from development and venture financiers, and has ambitious plans to expand throughout the African continent. However, Mobius’s fleet of vehicle is still currently very small, and the company faces many strategic challenges on both the demand and the supply side of the business. 

GSB Faculty, Students and Staff only may view PDF document, authorization required.

Paper Copy: You may purchase this case from Harvard Business Publishing.

Case No: IDE01

QuestBridge: A Search for Scale

Academic Case Study by:
William F. Meehan III, Georgia Levenson Koehane
Published: 2011
[photo - William F. Meehan III]

In January, 2010 QuestBridge, a national leader in making college a reality for bright, motivated low-income students, was sixteen years old. Founder and President, Michael McCullough, was thinking about the organization’s future. In 2009, QuestBridge placed 1,500 high school seniors – with full, four-year scholarships – at 30 top colleges. In return, the organization received recruiting fees from the schools of $1.8 million; enough to cover more than 80 percent of its operating expenses and to put the organization on a path to self-sufficiency. 

Yet, the question of the organization’s future growth loomed large. While Quest had been successful, the problem it was founded to address – the fact that talented, high-achieving but low income students were grossly underrepresented both in the nation’s top colleges and in the ranks of the highly-skilled – persisted. An estimated 30,000 students with family incomes below $41,000 a year score higher than 1300 on the SATs; and yet only a small fraction of these students applied to four year colleges, much less top-flight schools. QuestBridge was contemplating two options for growth. The first was to expand more deeply into the existing pool of qualified talent. McCullough believed that the way to do this was to begin recruiting in the junior year with programs and scholarships to educate students about the application and financial-aid processes early and motivate them to apply. McCullough anticipated that Quest might be able to capitalize on a portion of the $1 billion scholarship management market in the process, by funding the junior year initiatives with ‘scholarship’ money and charging donors a management fee. The second path for QuestBridge’s future growth was on the other end of its service spectrum. Quest hoped to provide more and deeper programs for alumni, including a kind of ‘match’ to graduate school, internships and long-term employment opportunities. McCullough contended that there may be a graduate school market similar to the college market for low income talent, and that, further, companies will pay headhunter-type recruiting and placement fees for Quest alums. Here, too, the plan was to scale the organization and generate self-sustaining revenue in the process. 

By 2010, Quest had made programmatic progress along both growth trajectories, but was still sorting out exactly which path offered the most promising strategy in operational or financial terms.

GSB Faculty, Students and Staff only may view PDF document, authorization required.

Paper Copy: You may purchase this case from Harvard Business Publishing.

Case No: SI83

ZETA Communities - Part B

Academic Case Study by:
Erica L. Plambeck, Raymond Levitt, Andrea Larson, Sara Rosenthal
Published: 2011
[photo - Erica Plambeck]

Part A of the ZETA Communities case provides the background on the history of the construction industry, the housing crisis and declining economic environment at the time the co-founders were launching the company, and the emergence of the green building movement. With Part A as context, Part B describes the three co-founders’ vision for launching a net zero energy, prefabricated housing company, innovating upon a decades-old manufactured housing technology. The co-founders launched ZETA Communities at the nadir of the housing crisis and must navigate through the market and financing challenges to build a viable organization. Today, ZETA Communities manufactures its buildings out of a factory in Sacramento and provides products to the housing, education and light commercial markets.

GSB Faculty, Students and Staff only may view PDF document, authorization required.

Paper Copy: You may purchase this case from Harvard Business Publishing.

Case No: E404B

ZETA Communities - Part A

Academic Case Study by:
Erica L. Plambeck, Raymond Levitt, Andrea Larson, Sara Rosenthal
Published: 2011
[photo - Erica Plambeck]

Part A of the ZETA Communities case provides the background on the history of the construction industry, the housing crisis and declining economic environment at the time the co-founders were launching the company, and the emergence of the green building movement. With Part A as context Part B, describes the three co-founders’ vision for launching a net zero energy, prefabricated housing company, innovating upon a decades-old manufactured housing technology. The co-founders launched ZETA Communities at the nadir of the housing crisis and must navigate through the market and financing challenges to build a viable organization. Today, ZETA Communities manufactures its buildings out of a factory in Sacramento and provides products to the housing, education and light commercial markets.

GSB Faculty, Students and Staff only may view PDF document, authorization required.

Paper Copy: You may purchase this case from Harvard Business Publishing.

Case No: E404A

Corner