Finance Case Studies

Banco Solidario: The Business of Microfinance

Company: Banco Solidario
Publisher: Harvard
Call Number: 9-702-019
Year Published: 2002

This case examines the founding and evolution of a for-profit microlending organization in Bolivia. It explores the mechanics of microlending, nonprofit and for-profit approaches to serving the informal sector, and how the industry evolves over a 15-year period.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How can Banco Solidario adjust its strategies for the current environment?

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/web/product_detail.seam?E=43095&R=702019-PDF-ENG&conversationId=107538


A Model of Clean Energy Entrepreneurship in Africa: E+Co's Path to Scale

Company: E+Co
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 907M59
Year Published: 2009

The founder and executive director of E+Co faces the challenge of ten-fold growth and reviews the core parts of the company's innovative business model, the changes in the energy markets around the world, and the rationale for local solutions to energy scarcity and inefficiency. Also presented is a set of entrepreneurial growth strategies that preserve the core of the model - i.e., simultaneously tackling energy poverty and energy waste, and bringing people up the energy ladder with locally suitable and affordable solutions.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
challenge of ten-fold growth and reviews the core parts of the company's innovative business model, the changes in the energy markets around the world, and the rationale for local solutions to energy scarcity and inefficiency

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/web/product_detail.seam?E=59126&R=907M59-PDF-ENG&conversationId=108186


Ecovative Design LLC: A Biological Materials Startup

Company: Ecovative Design LLC
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B13M125
Year Published: 2013

Ecovative Designs (Ecovative), a start-up company in upstate New York, uses an innovative process to combine agricultural waste and mycelium (mushroom “roots”) to grow forms for use in a wide variety of applications, especially a protective packaging material. Not only does this new product replace the need for the environmentally harmful alternative, extruded polystyrene, but the production process is less energy intensive. It exemplifies the cradle-to-cradle design indicative of a sustainably embedded product and attractive to companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint. In 2013, the partners are considering whether to sign a contract with Sealed Air, one of the largest distributors of packaging materials in the world, but the deal would mean relinquishing control over the only profitable segment of their company. They are considering alternative growth strategies to find the one that fits best with their goal: to have the largest impact on the planet while remaining profitable.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How can a start-up’s radical sustainability innovation be scaled up (and with who) to meet both the founders’ needs for financial viability and to achieve significant environmental impact?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=60902


Ford Motor Company: New Shades of Green Through Soy Foam

Company: Ford Motor Company
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B13M109
Year Published: 2013

Ford Motor Co. develops and commercializes a green technology that replaces a traditional and scarce resource with an abundant bio-material. The pilot project becomes hugely successful, and, within the company, the idea of expanding the use of bio-material gains considerable momentum, but implementation and customer acceptance prove to be a challenge. Two members from the company’s research and engineering division work together to overcome these obstacles and move the company toward a vision of sustainability that involves more than just fuel economy and cost reduction.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
What are the challenges faced by internal change agents of sustainability projects in their efforts to initiate and grow these projects throughout a large organization? How should these change agents manage the nuances of implementation once the advantages and disadvantages of such a “green” innovation have been determined?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=60433


Kiva vs MYC4-Business Model Innovation in Social Lending

Company: Kiva, MYC4
Publisher: INSEAD, ECCH
Call Number: 809-024-1
Year Published: 2009

The case describes the launch, growth and current challenges of two innovative ventures in the nascent social lending market. Kiva is based on good-will while MYC4 is based on market incentives. Which model is more likely to succeed?

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
Which model is more likely to succeed?

Website where case study can be found:
http://www.caseplace.org/d.asp?d=4353


Manila Water Company

Company: Manila Water Co.
Publisher: Harvard
Call Number: 9-508-004
Year Published: 2007

In 1997, the Philippines government privatized its water utility in the metropolitan Manila area. The East Zone concession was won by Manila Water Company and the West Zone concession by Maynilad Water Services. Over the next decade, Manila Water turned in an impressive and profitable performance, while Maynilad failed.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
The opportunity to own the West concession

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/search/manila%2520water%2520company?Ntk=HEMainSearch&N=0


Root Capital

Company: Root Capital
Publisher: Harvard
Call Number: 9-510-035
Year Published: 2009

Founded in 1999, Root Capital had loaned $150 million to nearly 250 small and growing businesses, mainly in Latin America. In 2009, as the organization launched a five-year, $55 million capital campaign, it had to determine a strategic path going forward in keeping with its goal of achieving financial sustainability by 2013.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
How can Root Capital achieve financial sustainability by 2013

Website where case study can be found:
http://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cb/web/product_detail.seam?E=1314158&R=510035-PDF-ENG&conversationId=236414


The SEKEM Initiative

Company: SEKEM
Publisher: IESE Business School
Call Number: 0-304-072
Year Published: 2004

Sekem was founded by Ibrahim Abouleish, an Egyptian who had been living, studying and working in Austria prior to his return to Egypt in 1977, the year he established Sekem. In 2003 it consisted of three main parts: the Sekem group of companies, the Egyptian Society for Cultural Development and the Cooperative of Sekem Employees, together employing more than 2,000 people. This case portrays the complex set of circumstances that frames Sekem's decisions to further grow and develop the initiative along its historical path of holistic development in the social, economic and cultural spheres.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
To initiate holistic development able to create economic, social and cultural value in a sustainable manner.

Website where case study can be found:
http://www.caseplace.org/d.asp?d=427


Tennant Company: Can “Chemical-Free” Be a Pathway to Competitive Advantage?

Company: Tennant
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B12M020
Year Published: 2012

The case of Tennant Company is one that describes a floor-cleaning company that differentiated itself by introducing chemical-free cleaning equipment. Not only did it strategically evolve as an environmentally responsible sustainable business, it also used that same principle to its competitive advantage. By marketing its products as equally effective in performance, competitive in price and “greener” on the environment, the revamp was a success to all involved parties.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
Is a proven ecological innovation without any customer or financial trades-off enough of a business proposition to meet customers’ expectations, investors’ ambitions, and the company’s goals? And if so, where do you draw the line in making superior environmental performance the basis for competitive advantage?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=53837


Viridity Energy: The Challenge and Opportunity of Promoting Clean Energy Solutions

Company: Viridity Energy, Inc.
Publisher: Ivey
Call Number: 9B12M035
Year Published: 2012

Viridity Energy, a smart grid company, is engaged in sustainability for two reasons. On one hand, it finds profitable opportunities by helping its customers cut energy bills. And on the other hand, it’s getting credit for that environmental responsibility. This case highlights the challenges and opportunities of smart grid companies to promote clean energy solutions, especially the challenge of doing less harm to include progressively greater eco-effectiveness in competitive markets.

What is the dilemma or tough decision?
Will consuming fewer ‘dirty’ watts be enough of an objective in a future facing rising societal expectations and competitors offering similar benefits?

Website where case study can be found:
https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=54018