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Nuru Energy (A): Financing a Social Enterprise

Published 26 Feb 2013
Reference 5847
Region Global
Length 14 page(s)
Prizes & Awards

Winner of 2012 EFMD Case Writing Competition, African Business Cases Category

Runner Up of 2012 oikos Case Writing Competition, Social Entrepreneurship Category


Case A describes the creation and growth of Nuru Energy. Starting from nothing, the founder 'bootstraps' a social venture with the goal of providing affordable and effective lighting solutions for 800 million people without access to the electricity grid in sub-Saharan Africa and India. The case narrates the challenges involved in developing a social enterprise with a dual aim of turning a profit and making a social impact. It focuses in particular on the financial challenge and provides a context to discuss difference financing options and their implications. It looks at the different business model alternatives - market-based and donor-based. The central theme is to assess the merits and drawbacks of the different funding alternatives. Case B is an update that explains what financing option the founder chose and its implications. It sets the stage for a discussion about trade-offs in the geographical expansion of social ventures. to access case videos and other support material.

Media Presence
Nuru Energy: Financing a Social Enterprise & From Breakdowns to Breakthroughs - the Nuru Energy case presentation on the Case Centre website.
oikos Case Quarterly: Energy, Issue 9, March 2013

Teaching objectives

The teaching objectives are for students to: - understand the emerging and diverse field of social investment (from donors to impact investors) - realise the importance of a sustainable business model and how it can be developed - discuss the role of the social entrepreneur, how to achieve focus and avoid burn-out

  • Energy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Sustainability
  • Social impact
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Hybrid organizations
  • Africa
  • Impact investing
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