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WITS Business School
Virtual special issue

Emerging markets case studies

Cases submitted by WITS include several award-winning cases and are constantly high-quality. These cases, from authors at WITS Business school, focus on a variety of topical business management subjects and illustrate dilemmas faced by business from emerging regions (often in Sub-Saharan Africa), yet which have global relevance for a wider audience.

Solar turtle: searching for the game changer

Subject area: Entrepreneurship
Authors: Boris Urban and Jabu Maphalala

SolarTurtle is an award-winning South African social enterprise that manufactures and supplies secure, mobile, solar power stations and kiosks to communities where the electricity grid does not reach. The company converts shipping containers into housings for solar panels to protect them from theft and extreme weather conditions. These units are called “PowerTurtles”. Through the franchise model, the company supplies PowerTurtles to off-grid institutions in rural areas. PowerTurtles are also sold to private sector enterprises and are scalable to suit the energy needs of customers. With the successful launch of the AutoTurtle in 2018 (which folds away the solar panels automatically, where the PowerTurtle requires them to be folded away manually), the company started to develop a new lightweight, fibreglass, solar kiosk with roof-mounted solar panels called the MiniTurtle, and a mobile trolley version known as the BabyTurtle. Now, in 2018, Van der Walt hopes to develop the business to the point where it can sustain itself.

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Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve: towards sustainability

Subject area: Entrepreneurship
Authors: Boris Urban and Claire Beswick

From her office on her farm in the Eden District of South Africa’s Western Cape province, Wendy Crane, who had for many years been involved in the conservation efforts of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR), drank in the view of the Langeberg Mountains. Her pleasure was a bit diminished by the knowledge that, like so many parts of the GCBR, this area’s environment was under threat. She was preparing for a meeting in March 2017 of the board of the non-profit company (NPC) that sought to initiate and coordinate activities that would achieve the goals of the GCBR. The NPC board members wanted the organisation to be self-sustaining when it came to core costs. To this end, the board had established Gouritz Enterprises as a social enterprise that would be responsible for profit-driven activities which would fund the NPC’s core costs. The enterprise had not yet started work in any formal way, and Crane was not sure if establishing a separate profit-driven entity was the best way of achieving the self-financing goal.


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DEV Mozambique: food security through innovative social enterprise development

Subject area: Entrepreneurship
Authors: Boris Urban, Stephanie Althea Townsend and Amanda Bowen

In March 2019, Elena Gaffurini, managing partner of DEV Mozambique (DEV), sat down to evaluate the business. DEV, based in Maputo and launched in 2015, was a consulting and services company supporting entrepreneurial development in Mozambique, by training and supporting small businesses in agricultural-related sectors to improve food security. Gaffurini – a self-proclaimed purpose-driven person – now questioned whether DEV’s impact on social and economic development was significant enough to justify the effort she and her team put into it and whether DEV should reconsider its current business model to create more impact.

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