The initial growth in green businesses in mainstream markets starting in the early 1990s has been joined by an explosion in the number ‘social’ for-profit, non-profit and hybrid business models. These organizations place their social and/or environmental goals at the heart of their business mission. The entrepreneurs leading these businesses are powerful agents of social, environmental and economic change. Their business models reflect the market opportunities offered by changing norms and values in the societies in which they are set. They respond to sustainability issues such as poverty, inequality, lack of healthcare, financial exclusion, lack of educational opportunities, inadequate sanitation, poor waste management and global issues such as climate change. This course explores how these different sustainable and social enterprises leverage markets to address specific social and/or environmental challenges across the regions visited. In particular it explores how context influences these organizations, reflecting the normative and institutional environments in which they are set, and the specific issues they seek to address. This course will use lectures, real-life case studies, fieldwork, group exercises and presentations to gain in-depth understanding of the major issues addressed by these enterprises, the different models used in differing contexts, and the specific challenges they confront.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Date: March 23, 2018
We will be visiting a range of mission-driven organizations across Cape Town. They will comprise a mixture of those who prioritize environmental issues or social issues, or both. During the visits to township community organizations, incubators and a company who has adopted a green ethos we explore the dynamics of social and sustainable venturing in the South African context.
In the morning we will visit two employment projects for foster children from a local orphanage, see the FoodPod social enterprise based in Philippi Township and talk to local social entrepreneurs, see the University of Cape Town social enterprise incubator in Philippi Village and be able to view their shipping container businesses. In the final part of the field visit we will visit a sustainable winery based just outside Cape Town where the group will split to undertake a two part tour, around the grounds of winery to explore their sustainable production and through their nature conservancy. (Please note you will not be able to purchase any wine at this part of the field visit)
- To explore examples of mission-driven organization’s in Cape Town;
- To be introduced to the practical actions such firms might take;
- To consider who their beneficiaries and key stakeholders are;
- To consider what challenges these enterprises face; and
- To reflect on how such organizations face trade-offs in good versus good missions