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Case Studies in Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability

The oikos collection Vol. 2

In 2008, Ashoka launched the "Changemaker Campus Initiative" which applies Ashoka's rigorous criteria to select and support universities as they develop and implement a comprehensive social entrepreneurship plan. Through the lessons learned from this network, and with input from its broader global network of those experienced in the field, Ashoka aims to set a new standard for social entrepreneurship education. Indeed, despite the rising demand, there remains a dire need for quality coursework and global teaching case studies. Social entrepreneurs – and the pressing challenges they solve – are not bound by geographic borders or a single political environment, yet there is a lack of the materials necessary to equip students with the skills and mind-set required to catalyze systemic social change.

What few high-quality case studies do exist typically highlight social entrepreneurs within the United States. This cooperation with oikos within the Social Entrepreneurship Track of the annual oikos Global Case Competition is a critical vehicle for tackling that challenge. As a result of this effort, more locally relevant case studies are being written, peer-reviewed, and judged than ever before, and are able to make their way into the hands of global audiences eager to adopt them into their courses.

Building social entrepreneurship skills and problem-solving abilities are best practiced and honed using real-life examples and strategic challenges – not just learning theories in a vacuum. Case studies provide this exposure and real-time training in systemic problem-solving. Through these 15 teaching cases, students learn that social entrepreneurship is about identifying root causes of problems and applying a solution that tackles the system. As study upon study has shown, the band-aid approach does not work. To effectively address a social problem, the solution must continually adapt and evolve based on market feedback about what works and what needs to change in the model.

Case Studies in Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability is the second volume resulting from the oikos Global Case Writing Competition – an annual program launched in 2003 to promote the publication of high-quality teaching cases in corporate sustainability. This book expands the collection with award-winning global cases in the rapidly growing field of social entrepreneurship and sustainability.

In view of the growing importance of various sustainability trends, management schools are increasingly challenged to adapt their entrepreneurship and business curricula. Management education needs to reflect the trends and provide a broadened understanding of value creation. Sustainability is a concept that demands that organizations consider the legitimate expectations of different stakeholders in their value creation processes. At the same time, it underlines the fact that many sustainability trends offer new business opportunities that entrepreneurs will seize. As a result, value creation processes need to be reorganized in order to create economic capital while developing social capital and preserving natural capital.

Indeed, entrepreneurial organizations are increasingly dealing with these challenges. The case studies in this book explore both the opportunities and pitfalls entrepreneurs – working with organizations with for-profit, hybrid and non-profit business models – face in targeting sustainability issues and how their values and core assumptions impact their business strategies. They describe new patterns of value creation, new alliances, and the challenges of dealing with existing paradigms. It is clear that new ways of doing business with a common objective of maximizing social impact are substantially shaping markets and society.

This textbook of competition-winning case studies for management education in the field of social entrepreneurship and sustainability provides excellent learning opportunities, tells engaging stories, deals with recent situations, includes quotations from key actors, is thought-provoking and controversial, requires decision-making, provides clear take-aways and is supported by teaching guidance and comprehensive teaching notes available to faculty.

This case collection highlights prize-winning teaching cases in the field of Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainability. The accompanying chapters on what makes for an excellent case and teaching note make it an invaluable resource for case writers, teachers and students in Social Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Sustainability.

Stephen J. Kobrin, William Wurster Professor of Multinational Management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

This collection of peer-reviewed quality case studies sheds light on diverse and inclusive social entrepreneurial practices in four continents. The focus on new patterns of value creation and thought-provoking business models is unique. A must-read for any Entrepreneurship class.

Anil K. Gupta, Professor, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad; Founder, Honey Bee network; and Executive Vice Chair, National Innovation Foundation India

A source of inspiration and a solid foundation for any impact-oriented course on Social Entrepreneurship.

Johanna Mair, Professor of Strategic Management, IESE Business School and Academic Editor of 'Stanford Social Innovation Review'

Foreword
Marina Kim, Director, Ashoka U

Preface

Part 1: Introduction

1.1 Preface
1.2 Cases in Social Entrepreneurship: What Makes an Excellent Case?
1.3 Teaching Notes
1.4 Introduction to the Cases

Part 2: Understanding the Nature of the Social Entrepreneur

The Meaning of Social Entrepreneurship
J. Gregory Dees, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, USA

Case 1. So you want to be a social entrepreneur: Starting out, scaling up, staying committed
Michael Gordon, University of Michigan, USA

Case 2. Gram Vikas
Imran Chowdhury, ESSEC Business School, France
Filipe Santos, INSEAD, France

Case 3. Kickstart: A business model to tackle poverty
Saji Sam George
V. Namratha Prasad, IBS Center for Management Research, India

Case 4. Kapai New Zealand: Eat Your greens!
Helen Tregidga and Kate Kearins, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
Eva Collins, University of Waikato Management School, New Zealand

Part 3: Entrepreneurial action for developing inclusive markets

Case 5. Fabio Rosa: Bridging the electricity divide in Brazil
Aytha Harish
Vivek Gupta, IBS Center for Management Research, India

Case 6. Dr. Reddy's: Medicine is for people, profits follow
Bala Chakravarthy and Sophie Coughlan, IMD, Switzerland

Case 7. Altis: A microfinance startup in Nepal
Jacen Greene and Scott Marshall, Portland State University, USA

Case 8. VisionSpring: A lens for growth at the base of the pyramid
Molly Christiansen
Ted London, William Davidson Institute/Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, USA


Part 4: Topic spotlight: SE approaches for tackling water challenges

Case 9. Procter & Gamble's PuR Water Purifier: The hunt for a sustainable business model
Lisa Jones Christensen and Jessica Thomas, Kenan Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, USA

Case 10. Trevor Field and the PlayPumps of Africa
Debapratim Purkayastha, IBS Center for Management Research, India

Case 11. WaterHealth International: providing safe drinking water to the bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers
Hadiya Faheem and Debapratim Purkayastha, IBS Center for Management Research, India

Part 5. Scaling, legitimacy and profit challenges for mission-driven Organizations

Case 12. Business model innovation by Better Place: A green ecosystem for the mass adoption of electric cars
Ramalingam Meenakshisundaram and Besta Shankar, IBS Center for Management Research, India

Case 13. Noir/Illumninati II
Benoit Leleux, IMD Lausanne, Switzerland

Case 14. The ReUse PEOPLE: Turning scrap into sales
William G. Powell and Charles J. Corbett, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA

Case 15. Living homes
Rebecca Henn and Andrew J. Hoffman, University of Michigan, USA

Part 6: Resources

6.1 Guidelines for case writing
6.2 International case writing competitions
6.3 Case Collections and journals
6.4 About the oikos Global Case Writing Competition
6.5 About oikos
6.6 Literature

JOST HAMSCHMIDT is a senior researcher at the ETH Zurich Group for Sustainability and Technology. MICHAEL PIRSON is the track chair for the oikos-Ashoka Global Case Writing Competition in Social Entrepreneurship.

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