James Chen's Entrepreneurial Odyssey (C): The Competitor's Story

Published 28 Oct 2016
Reference 6178
Region Global
Length 3 page(s)
Language English

This three-part case study explores the development of Adlens, a commercial firm, and Vision for a Nation as the social venture developed in parallel. The entrepreneur’s strategy is to sell the innovative Adlens optical products in middle-to-high income economies for profit, while Vision for a Nation is dedicated to improving vision in the developing world, starting with Rwanda. A key synergy comes from the “Buy one, give one” model, whereby for every pair of Adlens glasses purchased, another pair (adjustable or traditional glasses) is given away for free in Rwanda. Developing Adlens and Vision for a Nation as viable ventures has been not been an easy task. Despite the vast amount of time and money James Chen has invested in these projects, their long-term sustainability has yet to be demonstrated. But as an investor of ‘patient capital’, he sees beyond the logic of short-term profit making.

Read a related Knowledge article "Entrepreneurship Lessons from a Family Venture Philanthropist" by Randel Carlock.

Teaching objectives

. Apply entrepreneurship behaviors as an approach to strategy and leadership . Identify the relationship and tasks of the different forms of entrepreneurship . Understand potential strategic synergies between social enterprises and moneymaking ventures . Analyze investment horizons and the sunk cost dilemma in a new venture . Appreciate the career opportunities created by philanthropic ventures and family offices beyond working in the family business . Understand the importance of patient investment capital and the family legacy for philanthropic and social ventures

  • Social entrepreneurship
  • New ventures
  • Disruptive technologies
  • Africa
  • Family business
  • Family enterprise
  • Start-up
  • Venture investing
  • Q11617
  • Education, entrepreneurship, leadership
  • Social entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy