As Green As It Gets was a nonprofit “economic development organization supporting small, independent producers in disadvantaged Guatemalan communities.” The founder was an American named Franklin Voorhes.
As Green As It Gets sponsored a collective of 18 farmers, and by 2008 had expanded its efforts into the jewelry and textiles businesses, as well as reforestation programs. Voorhes felt that the organization had begun to gain some traction.
But despite the organization’s successes, Voorhes still had some major questions related to its future. For one, he wondered how to balance supply and demand of coffee while growing As Green As It Gets.
He also worried about organizational sustainability since As Green As It Gets relied heavily on his knowledge, relationships, and experiences.
Finally, he worried about financial sustainability, since all the money made went straight to the coffee farmers and artisans.
Case No: OB71
Barbara Ladao was the chief executive officer of the Neighborhood Health Clinic (NHC), a nonprofit health center located in an ethnically diverse, underserved, and complicated community. At the time of the case, the interpersonal dynamics within the clinic had started to interfere with the ability of Ladao’s staff to work effectively and efficiently together. Worse yet, she was concerned that the dysfunctional behavior (which had created a racial divide among employees) was starting to affect the clinic’s patients, and ultimately could impact NHC’s ability to continue expanding, raising funds, and meeting the needs of the community on a long-term basis.
The “A” case explores the history, demographics, and tensions in an external environment and the impact they have on clinic operations (e.g., hiring, staff management, interpersonal relations).
The “B” case evaluates specific challenges within the clinic related to language, work ethic, and discipline.
The “C” case describes what course of action Ladao and her team took, the strengths of their approach, and the challenges/opportunities that still required attention at NHC.
Note: While these case documents describe the actual events that occurred at a specific family health clinic in an underserved community, the name and location of the clinic have been changed for the purposes of confidentiality. Similarly, the names of the individuals described in the case are fictitious. At times, actions and statements made by multiple people (with similar backgrounds, perspectives, and/or positions) have been aggregated and attributed to a single individual to simplify the total number of characters introduced within the case.
Paper Copy: Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for availability.
Case No: OB51A,B,C
Christine Hamilton, Karen Knight, and Brenda Haden had all played an instrumental role in helping develop PacifiCare’s African American Health Solutions (AAHS), a program focused on improving the health outcomes of African Americans by providing culturally sensitive health education, health improvement opportunities, and access to high-quality health care services. By early 2006, approximately two years after the program’s inception, the initiative had made significant headway in its two primary markets of Dallas and Los Angeles. In the following year, however, AAHS would face new challenges.
Limited information was captured and tracked regarding the program’s potential effect on the level of risk in the company’s portfolio, and little was known about the profitability of the target community. As AAHS gained more exposure, the initiative had to validate that it was making a positive contribution to the company. It was also becoming increasingly clear that competition for the business of African Americans was intensifying among health insurance providers, with companies such as Kaiser and Aetna seeking to reach these communities in ways similar to PacifiCare. In 2006, AAHS had to more clearly define its purpose in the face of this growing competition. Finally, the initiative needed to decide on a customer acquisition approach. Was it really a goodwill program designed primarily to educate and inform African Americans? Or, was AAHS a powerful acquisition tool that should be integrated more directly into PacifiCare’s mainstream customer acquisition strategy?
The team feared that the initiative could be marginalized if it gravitated too far toward community services. On the other hand, the team was concerned about the potentially negative repercussions of pursuing more aggressive acquisition techniques. Note: While this case reflects actual events that occurred at PacifiCare, the names of most company representatives have been changed for the purposes of confidentiality.
Case No: M312
When India regained its independence in 1947, the country’s political, social, and economic fate was in its own hands for the first time in almost 90 years. With optimism and good intentions, the country embarked on a journey to establish a democracy and representative government, define a plan for economic development, and build a society within which its large, diverse, and fragmented population could prosper. More than five decades later, however, opinions differed as to whether or not India had realized the greater triumphs and achievements that Nehru anticipated.
Analysts both applauded and berated the country’s achievements. With 17 percent of the world’s population, India generated only 2 percent of global GDP. Per capita income was less than $3,000 per year, with 25 percent of the country’s 1 billion people living below the poverty line. To keep pace with a labor force expanding at 2 percent per year and to make up for past development failures, India needed to sustain double-digit annual GDP growth but realized only 6.9 percent growth for fiscal 2004/2005.
Yet, the country had become the world’s 12th-largest economy (and the 3rd-largest economy in Asia behind Japan and China). India’s foreign exchange reserves were at a record level of more than $120 billion, while inflation and interest rates remained manageable. Exports had surged in the past two years, and India’s information technology services sector was thriving and had become a benchmark for economic development around the world. India had made significant progress toward establishing a competitive position in the global economy, but the journey initiated in 1947 remained incomplete.
With aspects of its socialist roots still in place, India had not yet fully defined nor realized the competitive advantage that would enable the country to sustain an improved global position. As Harvard’s Michael Porter asserted, "A nation's competitiveness depends on the capacity of its industry to innovate and upgrade."
India’s services sector had shown that the country had the capacity to be a pioneer. The question was whether India would capitalize broadly on this success by addressing obstacles to growth, or miss the opportunity to enter the modern world.
This paper provides a brief overview of India’s history, and explores the status of the country’s economic position in the early years of the third millennium.
Case No: IB58
This note outlines the business climate faced by entrepreneurs in reform-era Vietnam around 1996.
The most remarkable aspect of Vietnam’s reforms was that, despite the lack of official privatization, the private sector burgeoned and was the impetus to Vietnam's impressive economic growth. Entry of new firms had been a powerful force in Vietnam—strikingly so, given the absence of the market-supporting institutions that are normally thought to be a prerequisite to entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurs had to overcome a host of impediments, for which they often devised their own ad hoc strategies: Markets were geographically restricted, financial markets were inaccessible to most entrepreneurs, licensing regulations were onerous, corruption was rife, state-owned enterprises continued to be powerful, and there was little legal basis for private transactions.
Case No: IB46
By the mid-1990s, a few years into Vietnam’s tentative market-oriented reforms, Vietnam’s newborn private sector was at a crucial point.
The government had gradually loosened its communist-era prohibitions on market activities but had left in place most of the machinery of the old planned economy and had done little to build the institutions needed to underpin a market-oriented economy. Interestingly, facing impediments such as the lack of commercial law and contracts, entrepreneurship flourished.
The protagonists in the case are the owner-managers of three relatively young firms, who discuss their initial success in such an unreceptive setting.
Case No: IB45
In 1996, Andrea and Barry Coleman launched Riders for Health, a nonprofit in the United Kingdom dedicated to the improvement of transportation systems for health workers in Africa. The nonprofit’s main program, Transportation Resource Management, provided maintenance for motorcycles and other vehicles used by health workers to deliver medical care in remote African communities. Although dedicated to an unglamorous area of health care, the program was incredibly successful and one of the few examples of a practical solution to the world’s most intractable health care problems.
Nevertheless, by 2007, the organization was at a critical decision point. It had almost tapped out its established, external funding sources but still required significant capital to expand. The organization had to decide what strategies, both financial and operational, to implement in order to achieve the much larger scale it needed to spread the program across wider sections of Africa’s afflicted population.
Case No: GS58
James Mwangi, the CEO of Equity Bank, a microfinance services provider, oversaw a remarkable turnaround at his organization beginning in the early 1990s. Mwangi’s association with the bank began in 1992, when a founder (who was also a family friend) urged him to deposit his savings in what was then a struggling indigenous enterprise called Equity Building Society (EBS). Mwangi agreed, both to help keep a Kenyan institution afloat and because he felt personally invested in its management team. He then watched EBS decline at an alarming rate. In 1994, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) found EBS to be technically insolvent with poor management and inadequate board supervision. Equity officials agreed to overhaul the firm’s strategy and operations in exchange for avoiding dissolution. In 1995, Mwangi decided to get personally involved in turning Equity around. With several years of experience working for Ernst & Young and Trade Bank, he joined EBS as the finance director, and worked his way up to become CEO in 2004.
During his time at Equity, he oversaw its massive transformation from a small, insolvent mortgage lending company, to a fast-growing, internationally recognized financial services bank. Throughout the organization’s evolution, it had focused exclusively on Kenya’s economically marginalized citizens, the so-called “unbanked” population, which had historically been excluded from formal sources of capital, such as banks, building societies, and other regulated financial institutions.
This case asks students to examine what strategy Mwangi and his team pursued. Being able to define and identify strategy is fundamental to the task of the general manager but often lacks clarity in practice because of confusion about where to begin and what to include.
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Case No: E260
“Napo Pharmaceuticals” chronicles entrepreneur Lisa Conte’s two ventures, Shaman Pharmaceuticals and Napo Pharmaceuticals. Shaman was formed to make drug discovery and development more efficient by studying traditional, indigenous healers in the tropics.
Shaman had identified a promising compound that came to be known as crofelemer. For a variety of complex reasons, Shaman declared bankruptcy, and Napo, Conte’s new company established specifically for this purpose, bought Shaman’s library of compounds including crofelemer. At the time of the case study, Napo was developing the compound for sale in large Western markets while arranging an innovative public-private partnership to develop and distribute crofelemer in the developing world.
In developing countries, the compound would treat diarrhea, which kills over 2.5 million children every year. That public-private partnership proved difficult to arrange, and the case concludes with Conte deciding whether or not to proceed with the partnership that would not only save the lives of children but also would provide much-needed capital to keep Napo in business.
Case No: E223
Iftekhar Enayetullah and Maqsood Sinha, cofounders of Waste Concern in Bangladesh, had earned an international reputation for their innovative approach to dealing with the vast quantities of waste that threatened to overwhelm the overcrowded city of Dhaka.
Having just been recognized by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship as “outstanding social entrepreneurs,” the two were eager to take Waste Concern to the next level. Their ambitions included scaling up their waste processing operations, introducing new technology, and creating a new trading business selling credits for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions under the framework developed under the Kyoto Protocol.
The case describes Waste Concern’s model, and details two opportunities to raise capital from large foreign firms that would provide the funds to grow the organization. Enayetullah and Sinha were concerned not only about the financial aspects of the two offers but also about the objectives and philosophies of the two suitors.
Enayetullah and Sinha wanted any decision to be consistent with Waste Concern’s goal of promoting Kyoto Protocol-related (Clean Development Mechanism) projects throughout Bangladesh and converting waste into a resource to benefit the poor.
Case No: SI71