Entries in business model (28)


Addressing Ghana's counterfeit drug problem one text at a time

Image Source: Bloomberg, Photographer: Nana Kofi Acquah

Drug Lane, which runs through a market in the heart of Accra, Ghana, is littered with vendors selling painkillers and antibiotics from various pharmaceutical companies, reports a recent Bloomberg article.  Drug Lane's system, however, has such little oversight and is so permeable that as many as one in three medicines sold there could be counterfeit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared to just 1% in the U.S. and Europe. This is a major issue for Ghana and other African regions, where according to one study, fake and poorly made malaria drugs contributed to the deaths of more than 100,000 children across Africa.

While many agencies and NGOs have tried to address the issue, one Ghanaian entrepreneur in particular is making headway in the crackdown of Drug Lane and other areas like it. Bright Simons launched his company, mPedigree Network, in 2007. The company sells software that manufacturers use to label individual packs of medication with a 12-digit code hidden under a scratch-off panel on the packaging. Those who purchase the medication can text the code to mPedigree to determine if the product is authentic or not. The company believes that being based directly in one of the regions worst hit by counterfeit drugs offers a competitive advantage, and others agree. According to Jorn Lyseggen, a San Francisco-based entrepreneur:

African entrepreneurs, African startups, (and) African companies, of course are the first and the best to find a solution to local problems.

Technology and local knowledge are powerful tools to help address social issues like counterfeit drugs in African regions. Here at Mars, we are working with one startup through our Kenya-based entrepreneur accelerator program, Maua, called Reliefwatch. The startup helps developing countries that lack the infrastructure to effectively manage supply chains track expired and out of stock medications and medical supplies through cloud technology.

We want to hear from you. Are there other examples in developing countries where technology is intersecting with social issues to drive solutions?

-- Clara Shen


Mars and Maua featured at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Mars shared its success story of Maua with hundreds of entrepreneurs from all over the world this past weekend during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya.The Summit, opened by President Obama and President Uhuru Kenyatta came alive with inspiring stories from entrepreneurs as well as multinational companies such as Mars, intentional in transforming the lives of millions of people around the world through innovation and inclusive entrepreneurship.
Speaking at one of the panel discussion forums focusing on how innovation can drive connections with consumers, Wrigley EA General Manager Daniel Omosa said that entrepreneurs should focus not only on quick gains but on how they can make their businesses more inclusive and sustainable. “Mars is keen on the sustainability agenda ensuring that our ingredient sourcing, ethical business policies as well as empowering communities are all high on our agenda and embedded in our mutuality principle.”
Maua is one of the innovative ways through which Wrigley is reaching customers while making a positive impact on social capital. Through the Maua program Wrigley has created more than 490 entrepreneurs in Kenya, a significant number of them being women, transforming their lives both socially and financially. “Currently over 30% of Maua entrepreneurs are women and this has changed their lives and the communities in which they live.” Daniel said.
Women and youth were a key focus at the summit and this was highlighted during President Obama’s opening speech in which he said that by empowering women, economic growth would be realized. “Women are powerhouse entrepreneurs. When women succeed, they invest more in their families and communities,” he added.
Also highlighted at the panel session was the importance of innovation and the ability to co-create products in order to connect with consumers. On this Daniel said, “The consumer is king and you must be ready to listen, adapt and improve on your product quality efficiently to ensure success.”
As a prelude to the Summit, the international media network Al Jazeera ran a feature “Counting the Cost – The Battle of Hearts, Minds and Trade in Africa” in which journalist Andrew Simmons interviews Daniel Omosa and takes a look at the US-Africa trade relationship [to watch click here]. Wrigley has been highlighted as an American company investing in Kenya and leading the way in instilling confidence in other investors to operate in Africa. Wrigley recently broke ground for the construction of a $63 million state-of-the-art factory at a time when multinational manufacturers are pulling out of the market and investing elsewhere.
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit is an initiative of the US government and this sixth edition was held in Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time. For more on this story please visit click on this link: "Wrigley and Mars Inspire African Entrepreneurs at Summit Opened by Barack Obama"

-- Wrigley Corporate Affairs, East Africa


Maua & Bloom -- putting mutuality theories to the test

In introducing Mars' efforts to build an economics of mutuality to the world last year, Chairman Stephen Badger stated:

Without tangible action, I fear that capitalism will both fail to reach its full potential or achieve the benefits so desperately needed for the 7 billion alive today and those who are still to come on our fragile planet Earth."

Catalyst has worked over the past six years to create a rigorous framework to measure mutuality in all its elements across our value chain, and our findings so far have been reviewed and validated by internal and external experts. But "tangible action" requires, in part, real-world testing of our metrics and theories. Maua and Bloom are two such tests, pilots for new business models that will enable us to reach--and create mutually beneficial relationships with--consumers at the middle of the diamond (also known as the "base of the pyramid).

We invite you to read a more detailed description of Maua and Bloom on a new page we have created on this site, and please check back here for future updates as our project team members will be weighing in with updates.

-- Clara Shen



Best management practices for reaching, acquiring and retaining rural customers

As a follow on to our last post, How CPG Companies Overcome Challenges to Reach Thriving Rural Markets, which discusses how certain companies are successfully overcoming challenges to reach consumers in rural markets of emerging economies, we want to highlight the management practices these companies have in common.

According to the authors of this Harvard Business Review article, all of who are with Accenture, companies that are successful in reaching, acquiring and retaining rural customers tend to encompass the following organizational and management practices:

The authors point out that reaching rural customers alone is not enough for a company to thrive in these markets. Rather, to be successful, companies must implement transformational strategies and, they must act quickly to secure a first-mover advantage.

Image source: Harvard Business Review

-- Jia Yan Toh


Kasturi Rangan on CSR realities

Despite the widely accepted ideal of companies pursuing "shared value"- creating economic value in ways that also create value for society - Kasturi Rangan and two colleagues argue in a recent HBR piece that research suggests this is not the norm.

Most companies actually practice a multifaceted version of CSR that runs the gamut from pure philanthropy to environmental sustainability to the active pursuit of shared value. Further, well-managed companies seem less interested in totally integrating CSR with their business strategies and goals than in devising a cogent CSR program aligned with the company's purpose and values. But although many companies embrace this broad vision of CSR, they are hampered by poor coordination and a lack of logic connecting their various programs, and must develop coherent CSR strategies. Rangan lists the following practices to create such strategies:

  • Focusing on philanthropy - Programs in this theater are not designed to produce profits or directly improve business performance;
  • Improving operational effectiveness - Programs in this theater function within existing business models to deliver social or environmental benefits in ways that support a company's operations across the value chain, often improving efficiency and effectiveness; and
  • Transforming the business model - Programs in this theater create new forms of business specifically to address social or environmental challenges.

Once a company opts to pursue those three practices, managers can begin the rigorous undertaking of bringing discipline and coherence to the portfolio as a whole by following the four steps:

  • Pruning and aligning programs - The initial step for many firms is to bring coherence to the existing programs in each theater. To do so, they must reduce or eliminate initiatives that do not address an important social or environmental problem in keeping with the company's purpose, identity, and values;
  • Developing metrics to gauge performance - Gauging the success of a theater one program requires measuring its nonfinancial outputs;
  • Coordinating programs across theaters - Forming a coherent portfolio, one whose initiatives are mutually reinforcing and consistent with the firm’s business purpose and values; and
  • Developing an interdisciplinary CSR strategy - Establish a position whose primary responsibility is to integrate initiatives across all three theaters, regularly convening the key players in each theater to ensure ongoing communication and alignment, even if responsibility for individual initiatives remains dispersed.

-- Clara Shen