Nuru Energy

Case Abstract

Nuru Energy is a social venture that was created in 2008 by an MBA graduate with five years experience in the development sector. The entrepreneur starts from nothing, bootstrapping a social venture with the ambitious goal of providing affordable and effective lighting solutions to 800 million poor people without access to the electric grid in sub-Saharan Africa and India. The case describes the challenges of growing social enterprises that have dual roles of profit and social impact. It focuses in particular on financing challenges and provides a context to discuss different financing sources and their implications.

The case is written in the first person, based on extensive interviews, and is illustrated with pictures of the products developed and the customers using them. It describes the evolution of Nuru from the motivation to start a venture, to the discovery of the problem to address, the definition of the vision and mission of the organization, and then the bottom-up design strategy that led to a very innovative and award winning product design. The case then focuses on the challenges of developing a sustainable business model, discussing different market-based and donor-based alternatives and how these can be financed. The central theme to the case is to assess the merits and drawback of different funding alternatives that were open to Nuru Energy in November 2010. These ranged from social angel investors, to venture philanthropy and corporate social investors.

Authors: Filipe Santos, Anne-Marie Carrick-Cagna
Institution: INSEAD, France
Competition Year2012
TrackSocial Entrepreneurship
Key WordsSocial Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise, Impact Investing, Hybrid Organizations
CoursesSocial Entrepreneurship, Managing Social Enterprises, Managing Growth, Financing for Social Ventures
Target AudienceMBA, EMBA, Practicing Social Entrepreneurs
Permission RightsThis case is available for purchase from Insead Case Publishing
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oikos International

posted June 30, 2012

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