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Center for
Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Philanthropy & Responsible Investing

Mountain Hazelnuts: Social Entrepreneurship in Bhutan

Academic Case Study by:
Hau L. Lee, David Hoyt
Published: 2011
[photo - Hau Lee]

Mountain Hazelnut Venture Limited (“Mountain Hazelnuts”) was founded with economic, social, and environmental objectives. It planned to distribute young hazelnut plants at no charge to a large number of subsistence farmers in Bhutan. The farmers would plant the trees in fallow or degraded land, tend them, and sell the resulting nuts to the company at a price negotiated between the Bhutanese government and the company. If successful, this would generate a financial return for investors, greatly increase the cash income of participating farmers, help preserve rural Bhutanese communities, and improve the environment by stabilizing hillsides, reducing erosion, and providing other benefits. Mountain Hazelnuts was the first 100 percent foreign direct investment company in Bhutan. 

By early 2011, when the case is set, Mountain Hazelnuts had successfully established a nursery in rural eastern Bhutan, with a capacity to produce millions of plants. It was preparing to distribute its first trees to Bhutanese farmers—a project that would involve 10 million trees over five years, and involve about 15 percent of the country’s population. 

This case is intended for use in a course on supply chain management, but can be used in classes focused on the environment, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship (for instance, within a philanthropy course), global business, or business in developing economies.

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: GS78

Acumen Fund and Embrace: From the Leading Edge of Social Venture Investing

Academic Case Study by:
William F. Meehan III, Lyn Denend
Published: 2011
[photo - William F. Meehan III]

Jane Chen (GSB 08) and Brian Trelstad (GSB 99) had known one another for years. Trelstad, the chief investment officer of the nonprofit global venture fund Acumen Fund, had been a mentor to Chen and her colleagues as they worked to develop a low cost infant warmer to meet the needs of low birth-weight babies, their mothers, and healthcare providers in developing countries. Chen, who became the chief executive officer of Embrace Global, the nonprofit founded to achieve this objective, had come to value Trelstad’s guidance and trust his advice. In late 2010, as she and her team were on the cusp getting their innovative new product to market, Chen and Trelstad’s relationship took on a new dimension. Embrace was seeking an infusion of funds to support its product launch and help the company rapidly achieve scale. In parallel, Acumen Fund was continuing to look for organizations with game-changing products and services in need of patient capital on their way to becoming self-sustaining businesses that effectively serve the poor. Suddenly, Trelstad was a potential investor and Chen was a prospective investee. As they explored the possibilities of a financial partnership, one of the key questions facing Embrace was whether or not it should consider adopting a for-profit or hybrid organization structure so it could raise more substantial funding by taking on equity investors. Acumen Fund had to think about whether or not it was interested in investing in Embrace, how to value the company, and how large a stake it might be willing to take if a deal moved forward. This case explores the situation from the perspective of both organization and can be used to support a high level negotiation between the two parties.


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: SM191

Patient Capital in International Development

Speaker(s): 
Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder, Acumen Fund
Published: June 13, 2009
[photo - Photo: Jacqueline Novogratz]
Download  32 minutes, 14.8mb, recorded 2009-04-06
More from this series: Design for Change Interviews
In partnership with: Sheela Sethuraman

Credits:

Sheela Sethuraman
Peter Christensen
Kevin Shockey

Innovations in Philanthropy

Speaker(s): 
Peter deCourcy Hero, Former President, Community Foundation
Published: July 26, 2009
[photo - Peter deCourcy Hero]
Download  25 minutes, 11.6mb, recorded 2008-10-08
In partnership with: Stanford Social Innovation Review

Credits:

Mike Seifried
Marguerite Rigoglioso
Bernadette Clavier

Online Giving Markets: Niche or Revolution?

Speaker(s): 
Gabriel Kasper, Consultant, Monitor Institute
Jay Backstrand, Vice President & Banker, JPMorgan Private Bank
Matt Halprin, Partner, Omidyar Network
Jacob Harold, Program Officer, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Mari Kuraishi, Co-founder & President, GlobalGiving
Brita Lombardi, Executive Vice President for Strategic Development, DonorsChoose.org
Published: July 21, 2009
Download  1 hour 14 minutes, 34.2mb, recorded 2008-10-08
In partnership with: Stanford Social Innovation Review

Credits:

Steven Ng
Marguerite Rigoglioso
Bernadette Clavier

Philanthropy 101 - Online Giving Markets

Speaker(s): 
Venkat Krishnan, Founder and Director, GiveIndia.org
Clam Lorenz, Cofounder and VP of Operations, MissionFish
Carol Tappenden, Cofounder and Managing Director, GreaterGood South Africa and SASIX
Tom Williams, Founder and CEO, GiveMeaning.com
Published: July 06, 2009
Download  1 hour 02 minutes, 28.6mb, recorded 2008-10-08
In partnership with: Stanford Social Innovation Review

Credits:

Robb Lepper
Marguerite Rigoglioso
Bernadette Clavier

One Venture Capitalist's Perspective

Speaker(s): 
Randy Komisar, Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Published: June 07, 2009
[photo - Randy Komisar]
Download  43 minutes, 20.1mb, recorded 2008-10-08
In partnership with: Stanford Social Innovation Review

Credits:

Steven Ng
Marguerite Rigoglioso
Bernadette Clavier

Tax Incentives and the Nonprofit Sector

Speaker(s): 
Rob Reich, Associate Professor of Political Science, Stanford
Published: June 01, 2009
[photo - Rob Reich]
Download  57 minutes, 26.2mb, recorded 2008-09-24
In partnership with: Stanford Social Innovation Review

Credits:

Robb Lepper
Marguerite Rigoglioso
Bernadette Clavier

Finding Philanthropy's New Sweet Spots

Speaker(s): 
Katherine Fulton, President, Monitor Institute
Published: June 12, 2007
[photo - Katherine Fulton]
Download  45 minutes, 21.1mb, recorded 2007-03-20
In partnership with: Stanford Social Innovation Review

Credits:

Steven Ng
Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Bernadette Clavier

Arrillaga Book Offers Map for Successful Philanthropic Giving Today

Published: November 03, 2011
[photo - Giving 2.0 cover]
- Anne Gregor
Corner