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African Business Cases

Sponsored by China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

'ANGAZA: A Silicon Valley Journey' written by:

  • Vanina Farber, IMD - International Institute for Management Development, CH
  • Shih-Han Huang, IMD - Institute for Management Development, CH

Angaza’s story is not a typical solar light story, but the story of a female social entrepreneur with a for-profit Silicon Valley mindset, transforming a social enterprise from a hardware to a software business model. It is about pivots, changing value propositions, new products and business models as Angaza evolves to escalate social impact while still making money.

Angaza began as a solar-light company founded in 2010 by Stanford graduate Lesley Silverthorn Marincola to address energy poverty in rural off-grid communities. In her quest to address affordability, Lesley realised that the main problem confronting rural off-grid communities was not the price of solar lights per se, but finding a way to spread payments over time. In 2012, Angaza pivoted to becoming a software provider offering pay-as-you-go (PAYG) metering and monitoring technology to players in the solar-light ecosystem. After a successful run, what is next though for this company?

Bringing Technology to Market

Sponsored by EFMD Global 

'HP Inc.: Poised to Lead in 3D Printing?' written by:

  • Andreas Schotter, Ivey Business School, CA
  • Ramasastry Chandrasekhar, Ivey Business School, CA

EFMD Global would like to warmly thank the Bringing Technology to Market (BTM) Center, ESMT Berlin for their expertise and contribution in assessing the cases submitted in the “Bringing Technology to Market” category.

In April 2020, the interim president of the 3D printing and digital manufacturing business of HP Inc. (HP) is weighing his options in resolving three managerial dilemmas: (1) How should HP promote technology awareness among industrial customers? (2) How should HP scale up its production of 3D printers? (3) How could HP promote shorter technology adoption cycles among industrial customers?

With this case, students have an opportunity to step into the shoes of the head of HP’s 3D printing business and find a way forward for each dilemma he faces, which will give them the opportunity to (A) highlight the intricacies in the rapid rise and evolution of the technology business segment;
(B) explore how technology can disrupt established value creation models; and
(C) discover the switch from a manufacturing model to a mix of a manufacturing and service model. This case is suitable in undergraduate, graduate, and executive education programs focusing on strategy, disruptive innovation, and business transformation.

Continuous Improvement: The Journey to Excellence

Sponsored by EFMD Global

'The Plastilene Group: Sustainable Innovation Strategy' written by:

  • Ricardo Estrada, Plastilene Group, CO
  • Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Temple University, US
  • Michael Rivera, Temple University, US

EFMD Global would like to warmly thank The Case Centre for their expertise and contribution in assessing the cases submitted in the 'Continuous Improvement: The Journey to Excellence' category.

This case illustrates how Ricardo Estrada, Corporate Purchasing and Sustainability Manager, with the support of Plastilene Group's CEO, Stefano Pacini, undertook a strategic renewal process in a 62-year history Plastic films Group with production plants in Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and the United States. Strategic renewal arises from the theories of sustainability and the circular economy responding to media and legislative attacks and consumer behavior changes regarding plastic products at a global level. Implementing the Sustainable Innovation Strategy facilitates Plastilene Group to tackle the global plastic crisis and find new opportunities to grow sustainably.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Sponsored by ESC PAU Business School

'Ant Forest: Starting From Environmental Protection' written by:

  • Meng Rui, CEIBS- China Europe International Business School, CN
  • Qiong Zhu, CEIBS- China Europe International Business School, CN

Ant Forest not only heralded a new model for protecting the environment, but also generated unique economic value for the Alipay payment app and its parent company Ant Financial. Ant Forest is a classic example of how a business can create economic value by delivering social value. In just over three years of operations, Ant Forest chalked up two distinctive achievements: First, it functioned as a green initiative and public benefit platform accessible to individuals, public welfare organisations, and public benefit corporations (PBCs). Specifically, it offered tangible incentives (planting new trees) to reward low-carbon lifestyles, creating a virtuous, closed-loop system. Second, Ant Forest sought to benefit the public while delivering economic value. The company encouraged users to pay with Alipay by rewarding them with green energy points. Users could redeem these points to plant trees or contribute to other environmental activities carried out by Alipay on their behalf.


Sponsored by emlyon business school

'An African Entrepreneur’s Journey: Post-Pandemic Opportunities and Challenges for Adventure Travel' written by:

  • Shreshthi Mehta, Northeastern University, US
  • Marilyn Anthony, Fox Business School, US


'Unieuro: Retail Management in a Global Crisis' written by:

  • Daniele Scarpi, BBS Unibo, IT
  • Annamaria Cofano, Wedolab, IT

Family Business

Sponsored by Suliman S. Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut

'Brown-Forman: Nothing better in the market' written by:

  • Benoit Leleux, IMD - International Institute for Management Development, CH
  • Marta Widz, IMD - International Institute for Management Development, CH
  • Marc Chauvet, IMD - International Institute for Management Development, CH

In 2020, the Brown-Forman Corporation was preparing to celebrate its 150th anniversary. But the onset of COVID-19 had ruined the celebration plans, pushing instead the spirits producer to prepare plans to weather this storm.  With its global footprint, a turnover in excess of $3.3 billion and over 4,800 employees worldwide, the family business was cognizant of how this pandemic would disrupt world economies, affecting not only employee lives but also the livelihoods of partners in the hospitality industry. The hope was that its long-term-focused, engaged stockholder base, a commitment to sustainability, and a strong governance system would prove tremendous advantages in such situation. Successive boards had painstakingly put together solid company and family governance structures and processes and carefully rebalanced the company's portfolio precisely to mitigate the impact of dire times. Now was the time for the real-world “stress test."

Finance and Banking

Sponsored by Portsmouth Business School

'Business Intelligence and Geographic Information Systems in the Banking Industry: A Case Study of Improved Appraisal Performance for Home Loan Valuation' written by:

  • Araya Chaiprasert, NIDA Business School, National Institute of Development Administration, TH
  • Jongsawas Chongwatpol, NIDA Business School, National Institute of Development Administration, TH

This case study is designed to illustrate how to utilise a business intelligence framework and a geographic information system (GIS) to make better decisions in the banking industry. The case started when the senior certified analytic professional, and the geographic information system (GIS) solutions expert were drafting a proposal presentation to help a bank improve its home loan appraisal process. The current appraisal process was time-consuming and the appraisal value from the internal and external appraisers were very different as the appraisal process relied heavily on the opinions and judgements from all appraisal staffs. This was a great opportunity for the bank to revisit the current appraisal process and to demonstrate how business intelligence and GIS could aid in the appraisal decision. The proposed GIS-based BI dashboard allowed the appraisal team to the analyse data-related to the appraised property in real-time.

Hidden Champions

Sponsored by Hidden Champions Institute (HCI), ESMT Berlin

'Polycorp Ltd: A Pricing and Investment Dilemma' written by:

  • Peggy Cunningham, Ivey Publishing, CA

Polycorp Ltd., is a private, mid-sized Canadian firm that is a leading designer and manufacturer of engineered polymer products. The firm has three divisions. The firm had been growing rapidly and exports accounted for over 78.3 percent of the firm’s sales. The mining division generated almost half of the firm’s sales and profits. Its protective polymer mill liners were used in ore grinding mills deployed by mining operations around the world. In the face of a major recession in the mining industry, the CEO was being pressured by his customers to lower the prices of the mill liners. A price cut would not only affect the firm’s profitability, it would also impact the firm’s five-year capital investment plan that was aim at expanding the firm’s plant and further improving its processes.  The CEO was considering five options ranging from selectively cutting prices in the most competitive regions to raising prices.

Inclusive Business Models

Sponsored by IMD - International Institute for Management Development

'Batec Mobility: Creating, Scaling, and Selling an Inclusive Business' written by:

  • Alfred Vernis, Esade Business School, ES
  • Suzanne Jenkins, Esade Business School, ES
  • Lisa Hehenberger, Esade Business School, ES

Entrepreneur Pau Bach, who has tetraplegia, built his company, Batec Mobility, with an inclusive business model in which profit and purpose are tightly integrated. A personal mobility device company, Batec was created by people with disabilities, employs people with disabilities, and that aims to revolutionise mobility for people in wheelchairs. In June of 2019, Pau is considering different exit options in light of several goals: providing an exit to current investors, ensuring the continued growth of the business and its inclusive model, and reducing his role in the company to meet personal needs. When he receives an offer, he must evaluate whether to accept it or continue pursuing alternatives. Leading up to this moment, the case reviews the company’s stages of development, the funding it received, and the sale process. In this way, students explore the opportunities and challenges of developing, funding, and selling an inclusive business. 

'Ecoflora: Sustainable Innovation in an Emerging Economy' written by:

  • Ezequiel Reficco, ESCP Business School
  • Roberto Gutiérrez, Universidad de los Andes, CO

The Ecoflora case is structured around two of the most fundamental questions in strategic management: How is value created? And how is it captured? As authors, we were intrigued by the fact that Ecoflora’s differentiation strategy made not just business sense, but that it also played a critical role in the social dimension: price premiums and robust margins financed its mission of empowering vulnerable suppliers and preserving the environment. The case describes Ecoflora’s journey, from the moment the Cock family acquired it in 1997, driven to a large extent by the urge to catalyse positive social change in Chocó's --Colombia's poorest department. As the company sought to establish itself, its leadership extracted valuable lessons from a series of eventful twists and turns. At the end of the case, management realises that the company's commitment to vulnerable suppliers would constrain its planned expansion to meet increasing international demand, a tension that called for difficult decisions.

Latin American Business Cases

Sponsored by Universidad Externado de Colombia

'Antigal: Strategy and Succession Challenges in a Family-Owned Vineyard with Global Ambitions' written by:

  • Lucia Pierini, CEIBS- China Europe International Business School, CN
  • Martin Roll, Martin Roll Company
  • Gianfranco Siciliano, CEIBS- China Europe International Business School, CN
  • Zhijing Cao, CEIBS- China Europe International Business School, CN

What does it take family firms to be successful? What are their succession challenges? How do they professionalise their business? This case examines the complexity of running a second-generation family firm. A captivating discussion about ownership, governance and entrepreneurship in a family firm dealing with internal tensions among its members and external tensions from venturing growth in different markets. Educators and executives will discuss about the dynamics of generational change and how this change may constitute an opportunity or a threat for the long-term family business strategy. During the case discussion, they will be asked to make critical decisions as the family and business grow, relationships change, and markets expand.

MENA Business Cases

Sponsored by EFMD Global

'Introducing a Sustainable Business Model in Africa: The Case of BioDrive in Morocco' written by:

  • Majid El Ghaib, ESCA Ecole de Management, MA
  • Mark Davis, Bentley University, US

EFMD Global would like to warmly thank Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Amann for his expertise and contribution in assessing the cases submitted in the “MENA Business Cases” category.

In Morocco, among the few in the MENA region that import all their fossil fuel needs, a local startup (BioDrive) has developed a frugal process for recycling and transforming used cooking oils into a more efficient, less polluting, and cheaper source of energy: biodiesel.As a startup company in the very protected Moroccan petroleum products market with strong barriers to entry, BioDrive is limited in its sales to a B2B market. Unlike Europe and the US, current Moroccan laws and regulations are still not completely favorable to the transition to a low-carbon economy.  In the absence of an incentive legal framework, the company is exploring alternatives to market this product that includes corporate social responsibility (CSR) benefits from using this renewable source of energy. The business case helps students analyse the market potential and develop a responsible marketing strategy to promote the sales for BioDrive’s new biodiesel product in alignment with the CSR priorities of the identified customer segments.

Responsible Business

Sponsored by School of Business, The American University in Cairo (AUC)

'Tender Greens: Can they keep the ‘Green’ Promise in Beef Sourcing?' written by:

  • Marilyn Anthony, Temple University, US
  • Neha Mittal, Temple University, US

The case on 'Tender Greens' is a unique blend that incorporates supply chain management issues, strategic positioning of a company, issues around ethics and corporate social responsibility, as well as managing day-to-day operations when a business begins to grow and expand. We hope that this case will help business executives and scholars better understand how a company can balance and assign relative importance to different stakeholder groups when making decisions.

Responsible Leadership

Sponsored by University of San Diego School of Business

'NIA Impact Capital: Active Ownership for Social Justice' written by:

  • Vanina Farber, IMD - International Institute for Management Development, CH
  • María Helena Jaén, Universidad de los Andes, CO

The case is about a sustainable investor firm based in California, Nia Impact Capital, and its founder Kristin Hull. Hull’s aim is to invest in gender and racial justice and to make money with meaning and purpose. She brings the logic of impact investing to public markets, exercising active ownership and engaging with portfolio companies, including Tesla, IBM and Apple. The case allows students to understand Nia Impact Capital's strategy. Students evaluate stewardship rights and their duty to influence corporate strategy for diversity disclosure and against mandatory arbitration. They learn to exercise proactive engagement, shareholder resolutions and proxy voting. Finally, they prepare a proposal to the US Securities & Exchange Commission and write a speech to Tesla's board. The role of personal values and intentionality in investments is discussed.

'Youth4Jobs: Evolving and Scaling Up a Disability Inclusion Model' written by:

  • Ramnarayan Subramaniam, Indian School of Business, IN
  • Sunita Mehta, Indian School of Business, IN

The case deals with Youth4Jobs (Y4J), a not-for-profit organisation that served the disabled youth, by providing them with market-oriented skills and livelihoods. The CEO and core team of Y4J had previous experience in skill development and placement of rural youth. However, they quickly discovered that dealing with disabled youth required a totally different approach. Furthermore, different disabilities posed different challenges. They developed the model for youth with locomotor disabilities and then extended it to other disabilities. The case describes their experiences, the lessons learned and how they evolved their model for Y4J. Y4J grew phenomenally and built its presence across the country. Given the prevalence of disability in India, the CEO believed that Y4J had to further enhance its reach to support as many people as possible. The case closes with the dilemma faced by the CEO of setting the future direction of Y4J to enhance its impact.

Women in Business

Sponsored by IMD - International Institute for Management Development

'The WNBA: The League Betting on Women' written by:

  • Adam Steinbach, University of South Carolina, US

In 2021, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) embarked on its 25th season, having established itself as a mainstay in American professional sports but not yet broken through as a major competitor. Part One of this case takes stock of the WNBA’s place in the sports landscape at year 25, including the impact of gender inequities in explaining the league’s secondary status in the United States. Part Two takes a closer look at the WNBA’s strained relationship with its players, whose frustrations with the league took center stage during a lengthy and contentious negotiation that ultimately culminated in a historic collective bargaining agreement shortly before the league entered its 25th season. Together, the two parts of this case encourage students to grapple with a complex mix of societal and stakeholder issues, before challenging them to develop recommendations for growing the WNBA in the historically male-dominated sports industry.

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