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Rural Relations: A Socially-Driven Organization

CASE STUDY, ENTREPRENEURSHIP & STARTUPS
ET Cases, 9 pages

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Rural Relations: A Socially-Driven Organization

 

It was late in the evening on Friday and Pradeep was in a pensive mood, looking out of his office window. He was nostalgic remembering his maiden efforts that he had put-in to collate information about the villages, the farmers, markets and the residents. What began as a simple initiative 25 years ago of sending a postcard to the opinion leaders in the villages to elicit basic information about the respective village, had today grown into a huge business opportunity. In his vision, building a comprehensive and constantly refreshed base of information about rural India could be leveraged both for business and social development, a goal close to his heart. Running an organization sustainably with a positive social impact excited him and he had been successful thus far. The challenge for him was to monetize this business of – ‘doing good’. What kind of a business and revenue model would work for the organization as well as help Rural Relations to become a force to reckon with in rural development. Pradeep pondered “Can the model adopted for Maharashtra, be adopted in other regions as well?” Pradeep had envisioned Rural Relations two decades ago – when very few people envisaged Rural India as a ‘market’. Today, every marketer has his focus on Rural India, which changed the rules of the game for him. Pradeep wondered, “How do I scale up, and add more strategic units to my business, and yet not lose the flavor of what I had pioneered to do?”..................

Teaching Note Preview

Rural Relations: A Socially-Driven Organization

 

Synopsis

“India lives in its villages” – Mahatma Gandhi

About 65%–70% of the country’s population lives in rural areas. Pradeep was influenced early in his life by his own experiences and Gandhiji’s philosophy that India lives in its villages. Pradeep Lokhande, from Wai village in Satara District, Maharashtra, decided to dream big and reach out to the villagers to help them realize their dreams.

Rural Relations is a case study on social entrepreneurship with the twin objectives of creating social impact and being sustainable by being profitable. Pradeep demonstrates the importance of innovating along the way in the face of challenges in setting up field operations in rural India. Pradeep undertook a journey of his organization covering 40,000 villages of which he personally visited 4000. He tried to understand rural India’s administrative methodologies, markets and the bazaar-haat systems and the education system. In his journey, he established direct contact with opinion makers in villages and started recording details of the local economy. And in 1996, he got his first customers, Tata Tea and Parle, to delve into the data that he had collected. Since then there has been no turning back.

He also initiated the library movement, called Gyan-key, which aims to make a library in every rural secondary (middle) school a reality. It is a library of the students, for the students and by the students. To instill a sense of ownership, students are also encouraged to donate books, (regardless of their value) for ‘their’ library on their birthday, creating a feeling of belonging. The case study is poised at the stage where Pradeep opines that his goal is to reach all feeder villages of India in the next five years.

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • • Appreciate an entrepreneur’s determined journey towards achieving success
  • • Understand the critical outcomes for strategy execution in a ProSocial business
  • • Analyze how businesses can be socially relevant as well as being a tough competitor in the market and make profits
  • • Understand the concept of SROI and the possible methods that can be employed to calculate the value of the social impact of such businesses

 

Case Positioning and Setting

  • • This case study can be used in an ‘Entrepreneurship’ course where students appreciate the difficult journey the entrepreneur traverses before he achieves success. The difficulties of initiating ‘ProSocial’ businesses can also be emphasized at this stage.
  • • This case study can be used to illustrate the concept and significance of ROI in an entrepreneurial venture, and the constraints that go into evaluating the value of social businesses.
  • • This case study can also be used as a teaching aid for ‘Rural Marketing’, where student understands and appreciates aspects about tapping rural markets in developing countries and the challenges of competing in such markets.

 

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding

  • • Students/Participants will be asked to have a pre-reading on ProSocial businesses – relevance and existence in rural landscape

 

Assignment Questions

  • I. Will the present business model of Rural Relations be able to scale its business? Why or why not?
  • II. How can Pradeep measure the social impact of his initiatives in monetary terms? How would you approach calculating SROI for Rural Relations and what additional information would you need?
  • III. Is the organization structure at Rural Relations adequate to drive growth?
  • IV. .....................

 

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Product code: ENTP-1-0002, ENTP-1-0002A

Abstract


Rural Relations is a case study on Social Entrepreneurship with the twin objectives of creating social impact and being sustainable by being profitable. Pradeep Lokhande (Pradeep) demonstrates the importance of innovating along the way in the face of challenges in setting up field operations in rural India. Pradeep undertook a journey for his organization covering 40,000 villages of which he personally visited 4000. He tried to understand rural India's administrative methodologies, markets and the bazaar-haat systems and the education system. In his journey, he established direct contact with opinion makers in villages and started recording details of the local economy. In 1996, he acquired his first customers, Tata Tea and Parle, to delve into the data that he had collected. Since then there has been no turning back.

Pradeep also initiated the library movement, called Gyan-Key, which aimed to make a library in every rural secondary (middle) school a reality. Gyan-Key is a library of the students, for the students and by the students. The case study is poised at the stage where Pradeep opines that his goal is to reach all feeder villages of India in the next five years. However, the challenge now lay in how to scale in terms of both reach and impact. Would the present model continue to be a good business model? Would the years to come witness the scaling of business? In order to scale up should Pradeep aim at greater geographical reach or include more initiatives that would strengthen the organizations position as a 'Socially Driven Organization' Does Rural Relations have the organizational depth in terms of process and leadership to charge forward?


Pedagogical Objectives

  • To appreciate the hard road that an entrepreneur traverses before he realizes his dream
  • To understand the critical outcomes for strategy execution in a ProSocial business
  • To analyze how businesses can be socially relevant while at the same time compete in the market place and make profits
  • To understand the concept of SROI and the possible methods that can be employed to calculate the value of the social impact of such businesses

Case Positioning and Setting

  • This case study can be used in an 'Entrepreneurship' course where students appreciate the difficult journey the entrepreneur traverses before achieving success. The difficulties of initiating 'ProSocial' businesses can also be emphasized at this stage.
  • This case study can be used to illustrate the Concept and Significance of ROI in an Entrepreneurial Venture and the constraints that go into evaluating the Value of Social Businesses.
  • This case study can also be used as a teaching aid for 'Rural Marketing' where student understands and appreciates aspects about tapping rural markets in developing countries and the challenges of competing in rural markets.



This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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